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
12 September 2019
A new Geographical Mode Mask (v 4.0) is operational from Week 34 2019 (19 August - 26 August) onwards The mask is the basis of the CryoSat mission planning and defines the mode switching of the SIRAL instrument while the satellite revolves around the Earth.
20 August 2019
We're pleased to announce that the reprocessed CryoSat Ocean Baseline C data for all of 2014 has been published on the Science Server and is available for download.
Latest Mission Results News
05 August 2019
The rapidly changing climate in the Arctic is not only linked to melting glaciers and declining sea ice, but also to thinning ice on lakes. The presence of lake ice can be easily monitored by imaging sensors and standard satellite observations, but now adding to its list of achievements, CryoSat can be used to measure the thickness of lake ice – another indicator of climate change.
24 July 2019
Our knowledge of the depth and shape of the Arctic Ocean floor – its bathymetry – is insufficient. Owing to year-round sea-ice coverage and the cost of research in this remote region, much of the Arctic Ocean's bathymetry has remained a mystery, until now.
11 July 2019
We are all aware of the ebb and flow of the tide every day, but understanding tidal flow is important for a range of maritime activities and environmental monitoring, such as search and rescue operations, shipping routes and coastal erosion.
By combining 25 years of ESA satellite data, scientists have discovered that warming ocean waters have caused the ice to thin so rapidly that 24% of the glacier ice in West Antarctica is now affected.
14 May 2019
Unfortunately ice is a hot topic when it comes to understanding and monitoring how this fragile component of the Earth system is being affected by climate change. Scientists, therefore, go to great lengths to study changes happening in the remote icy reaches of our planet – a subject that is being discussed in detail at this week's Living Planet Symposium in Italy.
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.
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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