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
11 February 2016
The programme of the next ESA Living Planet Symposium (LPS16) and the CryoSat User Workshop has been released.
29 January 2016
CryoSat users are informed that additional Baseline C reprocessed data have been released on the Science Server.
Latest Mission Results News
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.
23 January 2015
Rapid ice loss in a remote Arctic ice cap has been detected by the Sentinel-1A and CryoSat satellites.
15 December 2014
CryoSat has delivered this year's map of autumn sea-ice thickness in the Arctic, revealing a small decrease in ice volume. In a new phase for ESA's ice mission, the measurements can now also be used to help vessels navigate through the north coastal waters of Alaska, for example.
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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