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
06 May 2015
Today, 06 May 2015, CryoSat will be rolling left and right in orbit again to help continue its precise measurements of the vast ice sheets that blanket the Greenland and Antarctica areas.
CryoSat users are informed that tomorrow, 6 May, between 09:00 and 09:30 CEST, the Science Server will undergo a planned maintenance by the service provider.
The server may be unreachable during this time window. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Latest Mission Results News
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.
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.
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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