What is CryoSat?
Europe's first ice mission is an advanced radar altimeter specifically designed to monitor the most dynamic sections of Earth's cryosphere. It borrows synthetic aperture radar and interferometry techniques from standard imaging radar missions to sharpen its accuracy over rugged ice sheet margins and sea ice in polar waters. CryoSat-2 measures 'freeboard' - the difference in height between sea ice and adjacent water - as well as ice sheet altitude, tracking changes in ice thickness.
Latest Mission Operations News
20 December 2018
After the successful 7th CryoSat Quality Working Group (QWG) meeting (which was held at ESA/ESRIN from 26 - 28 November 2018), all the presentations are now available to download.
16 November 2018
The 7th CryoSat Quality Working Group (QWG) meeting will take place from 26 to 28 November 2018 and will be hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA) at ESRIN in Frascati (Rome), Italy.
Latest Mission Results News
06 December 2018
Using a 25-year record of ESA satellite data, recent research shows that the pace at which Greenland is losing ice is getting faster.
13 June 2018
In a major collaborative effort, scientists from around the world have used information from satellites to reveal that ice melting in Antarctica has not only raised sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, but, critically, almost half of this rise has occurred in the last five years.
11 May 2018
Thanks to ESA's CryoSat mission, a new map of Antarctica provides the most accurate 3D view ever of the continent's vast ice sheet and floating ice shelves.
02 May 2018
While ESA's CryoSat continues to provide clear insight into how much sea ice is being lost and how the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice sheets are changing, the mission has again surpassed its original scope by revealing exactly how mountain glaciers are also succumbing to change.
03 April 2018
ESA's CryoSat mission has revealed that, over the last seven years, Antarctica has lost an area of underwater ice the size of Greater London. This is because warm ocean water beneath the continent's floating margins is eating away at the ice attached to the seabed.
11 October 2017
We are all aware that Antarctica's ice shelves are thinning, but recently scientists have also discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of these shelves, potentially making them even more fragile. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.
05 July 2017
All eyes are on Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf as a deep crack continues to cut across the ice, leaving a huge chunk clinging on.
24 March 2017
Around 250 million measurements taken by ESA's CryoSat over the last six years have been used to create a unique 3D view of Antarctica, offering a snapshot of the undulating surface of this vast ice sheet.
20 March 2017
After the relative quiet of the long dark winter months, the Arctic will be a tad busier over the coming weeks as numerous researchers descend on this harsh, yet fragile environment. Their aim is not to disturb its beauty, but to join forces in an all-out effort to measure ice on land and sea.
Almost 80% of the Earth's fresh water is locked up in the cryosphere, i.e. snow, ice and permafrost. The cryosphere plays an important role in moderating the global climate and as such, the consequences of receding ice cover due to global warming are far reaching and complex. Due to its high albedo, ice masses directly affect the global energy budget by reflecting about 80% of incident sunlight back out to space.
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