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Earth Topics (Applications)
Instrument type
Date of Launch:
08 April 2010
Mission Status:
Operating nominally
Orbit type:
LEO, non Sun-synchronous
CryoSat products
(18917) recent views
Last update: 21 June 2017

CryoSat's primary payload is the SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) which has extended capabilities to meet the measurement requirements for ice-sheet elevation and sea-ice freeboard.

CryoSat also carries three star trackers for measuring the orientation of the baseline. In addition, a radio receiver called Doppler Orbit and Radio Positioning Integration by Satellite (DORIS) and a small laser retroreflector ensures that CryoSat's position will be accurately tracked.

More detailed information on CryoSat instruments is available on the CryoSat mission page.

The following CryoSat datasets are available and distributed to registered users:

  • Level 1B and L2 Ice products: FDM, LRM, SAR and SARIn
  • Consolidated Level 2 (GDR): (LRM+SAR+SARIN) consolidated ice products over an orbit
  • Intermediate Level 2 Ice products: LRM, SAR and SARIn
  • L1b and L2 Ocean Products: GOP and IOP

Detailed information concerning each of the above datasets is available in the CryoSat Products Overview and here.

CryoSat Level 1B altimetric products contain time and geo-location information as well as SIRAL measurements in engineering units. Calibration corrections are included and have been applied to the window delay computations. In Offline products, geophysical corrections are computed from Analysis Auxiliary Data Files (ADFs), whereas in FDM products corrections are computed for Forecast ADFs. All corrections are included in the data products and therefore the range can be calculated by taking into account the surface type.

The Offline Level 2 LRM, SAR and SARIn ice altimetric products are generated 30 days after data acquisition and are principally dedicated to glaciologists working on sea-ice and land-ice areas. The Level 2 FDM products are near-real time ocean products, generated 2-3 hours after data acquisition, and fulfill the needs of some ocean operational services. Level 2 products contain the time of measurement, the geo-location and the height of the surface.

IOP and GOP are outputs of the CryoSat Ocean Processor. These products are dedicated to the study of ocean surfaces, and provided specifically for the needs of the oceanographic community. IOP are generated 2-3 days after data sensing acquisition and use the DORIS Preliminary Orbit. GOP are typically generated 30 days after data sensing acquisition and use the DORIS Precise Orbit. Geophysical corrections are computed from the Analysis ADFs, however following the oceanographic convention the corrections are available but not directly applied to the range (as for FDM).

Processing level

How to access this data

CryoSat products are available for registered users to access from the CryoSat dissemination server.

New users should register for access to CryoSat data via Fast Registration

The registration procedure requires the creation of an ESA Single-Sign-On account which is used to fill in the details of the user profile. Within 3 days, the Earth Observation Helpdesk will send another username and password, which allows for downloading CryoSat products from the CryoSat Science Server. Users can also download and install the CryoSat User Tool to browse and download available products.

Terms & Conditions applicable
Utilisation of this data is subject to ESA's Earth Observation Terms and Conditions

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ESA has been involved in many Earth Observation campaigns over the past 25 years, from ground-based surveys, to ships at sea, aircraft and balloons in the atmosphere and the orbiting satellites in space.

To learn more about these campaigns and available datasets from them, please see the Campaigns page.