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
08 July 2019
The CryoSat SIRAL instrument entered stand by mode at 01:53 UTC on 7 July. The instrument was successfully restarted and will resume normal operations by the afternoon of 8 July.
A new Geographical Mode Mask (v 4.0) will be operational from week 34 (19 to 26 August 2019) onwards. The mask is the basis of the CryoSat mission planning and defines the mode switching of the SIRAL instrument while the satellite revolves around the Earth.
We are pleased to announce the new release of magnetic field data recorded by Fluxgate magnetometers operating on-board ESA's CryoSat mission.
Latest Mission Results News
11 July 2019
We are all aware of the ebb and flow of the tide every day, but understanding tidal flow is important for a range of maritime activities and environmental monitoring, such as search and rescue operations, shipping routes and coastal erosion.
By combining 25 years of ESA satellite data, scientists have discovered that warming ocean waters have caused the ice to thin so rapidly that 24% of the glacier ice in West Antarctica is now affected.
14 May 2019
Unfortunately ice is a hot topic when it comes to understanding and monitoring how this fragile component of the Earth system is being affected by climate change. Scientists, therefore, go to great lengths to study changes happening in the remote icy reaches of our planet – a subject that is being discussed in detail at this week's Living Planet Symposium in Italy.
06 December 2018
Using a 25-year record of ESA satellite data, recent research shows that the pace at which Greenland is losing ice is getting faster.
13 June 2018
In a major collaborative effort, scientists from around the world have used information from satellites to reveal that ice melting in Antarctica has not only raised sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, but, critically, almost half of this rise has occurred in the last five years.
11 May 2018
Thanks to ESA's CryoSat mission, a new map of Antarctica provides the most accurate 3D view ever of the continent's vast ice sheet and floating ice shelves.
02 May 2018
While ESA's CryoSat continues to provide clear insight into how much sea ice is being lost and how the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice sheets are changing, the mission has again surpassed its original scope by revealing exactly how mountain glaciers are also succumbing to change.
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.
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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