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
25 October 2016
A special issue on CryoSat is planned to be published in Advances in Space Research in 2017, marking the 7th year of the mission.
26 September 2016
CryoSat users are informed that due to technical problems during the recent upgrade activity at Kiruna, data are produced but not disseminated. The only data currently disseminated are the L1b Full Bit Rate.
CryoSat scientific and expert users are informed that on Monday, 19 September the Payload Data Processing facility at Kiruna will undergo an important upgrade, affecting the production and dissemination of CryoSat products.
Latest Mission Results News
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.
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.
17 December 2015
Using data from ESA's CryoSat mission, scientists have produced the best maps yet of the changing height of Earth's biggest ice sheets.
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.
A recent acceleration in ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica has been detected by ESA's ice mission.
05 May 2015
Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo tragically went missing on 29 April 2015 whilst on expedition in the Canadian High Arctic, in a location near Bathurst Island, some 200 km north of Resolute Bay, Nunavut. It is feared that the two Dutch polar explorers fell through the ice into the water whilst traversing dangerously thin ice in a region of open sea ice.
04 May 2015
Registration is open for a free online course that provides an introduction to monitoring climate change using satellite Earth observation.
ESA's ice mission has become the first satellite to provide information on Arctic sea-ice thickness in near-real time to aid maritime activities in the polar region.
18 March 2015
Trekking to the far reaches of the Arctic for the sole purpose of collecting snow and ice measurements may seem extreme, but it is thanks to these efforts that scientists will soon have even better satellite information at their fingertips to assess changes in polar ice.
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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