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
26 March 2015
Further to the communication last week, CryoSat users are informed that the new Baseline C installation has started today. During the activity data dissemination will be interrupted and access to data disabled.
Data access will be restored on 1 April when Baseline C operations will be officially opened to the public.
20 March 2015
CryoSat users are informed that the new Baseline C installation may start as early as next week. The activity will be implemented over a period when the data dissemination will be interrupted and access to data disabled. An updated and possibly more detailed schedule will be released next week.
13 March 2015
In preparation for the forthcoming release of Baseline C which contains sea-ice freeboard, a new technical note has been released which explains which new Mean Sea Surface is used in the SAR processing chain.
Latest Mission Results News
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.
03 October 2014
ESA's ice mission has been used to create a new gravity map, exposing thousands of previously unchartered 'seamounts', ridges and deep ocean structures. This vivid new picture of the least-explored part of the ocean offers fresh clues about how continents form and breakup.
20 August 2014
Measurements from ESA's CryoSat mission have been used to map the height of the huge ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica and show how they are changing. New results reveal combined ice volume loss at an unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year.
13 June 2014
How do measurements from satellites flying above Earth provide essential information on the effects of climate change on our planet? Scientific and political organisations considered the question in London today.
11 June 2014
New data products from ESA's ice mission open new doors for scientists studying oceans.
Three years of observations from ESA's CryoSat satellite show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tonnes of ice each year - twice as much as when it was last surveyed.
14 May 2014
While camping may appeal to some, scientists recently took the pastime to punishing limits. Enduring the bitter Arctic cold out on the sea ice, they were part of a major international effort to ensure ESA's CryoSat satellite is delivering a true picture of Earth's changing 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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