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Sea ice is formed from ocean water that freezes, whether along coasts or to the sea floor (fast ice) or floating on the surface (drift ice) or packed together (pack ice). The most important areas of pack ice are the polar ice packs. Because of vast amounts of water added to or removed from the oceans and atmosphere, the behavior of polar ice packs have a significant impact on the global changes in climate.


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Iceberg patrol gains faster updates from orbit

09 November 2016

The international iceberg patrol service set up after the sinking of the Titanic is now able to track drifting ice from orbit more swiftly through ESA-backed cloud computing.

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CryoSat sets new standard for measuring sea levels

26 July 2016

Trying to measure sea levels around rugged coastlines is not always an easy task. ESA's CryoSat satellite is making a difference with its radar altimeter.

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CryoSat reveals recent Greenland ice loss

12 July 2016

In the most detailed picture to date, information from ESA's CryoSat satellite reveals how melting ice in Greenland has recently contributed twice as much to sea-level rise as the prior two decades.

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From petabytes to pictures

11 May 2016

Thousands of scientists are at the Living Planet Symposium in Prague this week to present the latest findings on our changing planet. Between the mountains of data coming from multiple satellites and the high level of expertise needed to translate them into useful information, the results are not always easy to understand.

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Nansen gives birth to two icebergs

14 April 2016

Multiple satellites, including Europe's Sentinels, have captured images of two large icebergs that broke away from Antarctica's Nansen ice shelf on 7 April.

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Antarctic ice safety band at risk

08 February 2016

Antarctica is surrounded by huge ice shelves. New research, using ice velocity data from satellites such as ESA's heritage Envisat, has revealed that there is a critical point where these shelves act as a safety band, holding back the ice that flows towards the sea. If lost, it could be the point of no return.

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Canada breaks the ice with Sentinel-1 data

21 December 2015

How can access to Sentinel data increase Canada's ability to offer improved information on sea ice?

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Ice matters

11 December 2015

The satellite age has revolutionised our understanding of Earth, giving us accurate information to help critical agreements on climate change such as at the current COP21 conference in Paris. Diminishing polar ice is one of the most visible indicators of change, but how much have we learnt over the last decades?

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Cool summer boosts Arctic ice

20 July 2015

Measurements from ESA's CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice increased by a third following the unusually cool summer of 2013. This new finding suggests that ice in the northern hemisphere is more sensitive to changes in summer melting than it is to winter cooling.

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SMOS sings the song of ice and fire

02 July 2015

While ESA's water mission continues to deliver key information on soil moisture and ocean salinity to advance our understanding of Earth, it is becoming increasingly important for 'real world' applications, further demonstrating the societal benefit of Earth observation.