Sporadic CryoSat SAR acquisition experiments over Antarctica land ice from 17 November to 7 December 2014
17 November 2014
It is well known that conventional altimetry acquisitions are not always suitable over areas of rough topography inside the interior ice sheet of Antarctica. CryoSat (CS) is the first SAR(in) altimeter concept to be flown on Earth and therefore represents the unique opportunity to process SAR data over land ice for which we still have poor knowledge.
There is no doubt that Earth Observation (EO) data has great potential to contribute to land surface monitoring, providing consistent global coverage with historical archives to document changes. The increasing number of EO missions is opening new opportunities to users to access a larger number of data products derived from different sensors providing estimates of the same geo-physical or climate variables.
Just weeks after celebrating its tenth year in orbit, communication with the Envisat satellite was suddenly lost on 8 April. Following rigorous attempts to re-establish contact and the investigation of failure scenarios, the end of the mission is being declared.
Many users employing Earth observation data from a given instrument would like to be sure they can continue to rely on its availability further into the future. The recent Envisat satellite anomaly, which began on 08 April, highlights the importance of this issue.
A new data processor coming online means enhanced quality data for the CryoSat user community. ESA’s ice mission remains in excellent health, outliving its planned lifespan to offer years of observations ahead. This month sees the release of improved ground data processing software for CryoSat. The result, comments Mission Manager Tommaso Parrinello, should be a “leap in quality” in results tracking shifts in polar ice thickness over time.
Ocean currents are important drivers of planetary climate. Often there is little direct evidence of their presence at the sea surface, but that changes when observing from orbit. ESA’s GOCE gravity mapper is providing more accurate maps of global currents than ever before. Imagine magically snapping your fingers to bring the sea to a state of perfect rest.