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
13 March 2018
Further to the announcement published on 12 December 2017 regarding the start of the GOP production, CryoSat scientific users are informed that the GOP data gap between the end of the Baseline B (i.e. on 07 October) and the announced start of Baseline C (i.e. on 06 November), has now been filled with L1b and L2 Baseline C data.
05 February 2018
CryoSat users are informed that a roll campaign is scheduled on 06 February 2018 (from 01:42:00 to 05:07:30 UTC and from 14:17:00 to 17:27:30 UTC). SIRAL instrument routine planning will be suspended and data gaps are possible. NRT users will be mostly affected.
The dataset which contains Star Tracker mispointing angles corrected for the aberration of light has now been updated with the archive for 2017.
The dataset is particularly useful for CryoSat users processing the data in Swath Mode.
Latest Mission Results News
03 April 2018
ESA's CryoSat mission has revealed that, over the last seven years, Antarctica has lost an area of underwater ice the size of Greater London. This is because warm ocean water beneath the continent's floating margins is eating away at the ice attached to the seabed.
11 October 2017
We are all aware that Antarctica's ice shelves are thinning, but recently scientists have also discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of these shelves, potentially making them even more fragile. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.
05 July 2017
All eyes are on Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf as a deep crack continues to cut across the ice, leaving a huge chunk clinging on.
24 March 2017
Around 250 million measurements taken by ESA's CryoSat over the last six years have been used to create a unique 3D view of Antarctica, offering a snapshot of the undulating surface of this vast ice sheet.
20 March 2017
After the relative quiet of the long dark winter months, the Arctic will be a tad busier over the coming weeks as numerous researchers descend on this harsh, yet fragile environment. Their aim is not to disturb its beauty, but to join forces in an all-out effort to measure ice on land and sea.
08 February 2017
A novel way of using ESA's CryoSat mission has revealed how lakes beneath Thwaites Glacier drained into the Amundsen Sea - potentially the largest such outflow ever reported in this region of West Antarctica.
16 December 2016
Although not designed to deliver information on ice, ESA's Earth Explorer SMOS satellite can detect thin sea-ice. Since its cousin, CryoSat, is better at measuring thicker ice scientists have found a way of using these missions together to yield an even clearer picture of the changing Arctic.
12 December 2016
Five satellites spanning two decades have revealed variations in the timing and pace of glacial retreat in West Antarctica. Some glaciers' thinning spreads up to three times faster than on neighbouring tributaries, and was offset by decades.
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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