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 2015
In preparation for the upcoming release of the CryoSat Baseline C, the two format specifications documents have been updated (L1b/FBR FMT and L2/L2i FMT). In complement, two technical notes are also made available to the users in order to present in advance the expected effects of the IPF evolutions on the CryoSat products from Baseline B to Baseline C (L1b main changes and L2 main changes).
CryoSat users are informed that due to a planned maintenance activity in Kiruna, no access to the public CryoSat servers (Science and CalVal) will be possible on Tuesday 3 February 2015 between 09:00 and 15:00 local time (08:00 - 14:00 UTC).
CryoSat acquisition and processing activities will not be affected.
20 January 2015
In preparation for the release of baseline C, the software routines written in ANSI C and IDL that can be used to read the L1b and L2 CryoSat products, have been upgraded.
Latest Mission Results News
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.
26 March 2014
Water from melting glaciers and ice sheets, along with thermal expansion of ocean water due to rising temperatures, are causing global sea-level rise. Scientists are exploiting satellite data to understand better just how much each component contributes to this devastating consequence of climate 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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