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Published by EOWeb on Fri 24 of Mar. 2017

CryoSat reveals Antarctica in 3D

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.

CryoSat's radar altimeter detects tiny variations in the height of the ice across the entire continent, including on the steeper continental margins where the vast majority of ice losses occur.

Importantly, the satellite's orbit takes it to latitudes within 200 km of the north and south poles – closer than other Earth observation satellites.

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Published by EOWeb on Mon 20 of Mar. 2017

To the Arctic for CryoSat and beyond

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.

Environmental changes in the Arctic are no longer only of interest to scientists.

The need to understand and respond to dwindling polar ice is being given increasing importance at global climate discussions and vital for adopting strategies to mitigate and to adapt to change.

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Published by EOWeb on Fri 24 of Feb. 2017

CryoSat data access network maintenance on 08-09 March 2017

Cryosat-2 users are informed that a mandatory maintenance shall be performed on the network in Kiruna.

These works have been scheduled to take place between 08 March at 23:00 UTC and 09 March 06:00 UTC.

During that time users may prove difficulties in accessing Cryosat-2 data and NRT dissemination may suffer delays. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Published by EOWeb on Tue 14 of Feb. 2017

Browse, plot and download CryoSat products with VtCryoSat

VtCryoSat is a new ESA tool developed by VisioTerra (France) in order to easily browse and download CryoSat products through an interactive and graphical web interface. The tool is freely accessible and does not require any installation.

VtCryoSat uses a web browser to display profiles of CryoSat's geophysical parameters on a virtual globe, including numerous plot options, as well as the capabilities of exporting and downloading the corresponding products.

VtCryoSat requires few bandwidth and computational resources. It operates with all operating systems and mobile devices and works with the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera.

The VtCryoSat tool is available here.

VT cryosat interface


Published by EOWeb on Fri 10 of Feb. 2017

New paper on CryoSat performance over the ocean

A significant reference for oceanographic applications of CryoSat has been published in the Remote Sensing of Environment journal.

The study was conducted by the UK's National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) within the framework of the ESA CryoSat Ocean Data Scientific Quality Control and Validation project.

This extensive evaluation of CryoSat ocean products includes noise and along-track spectral analysis as well as validation performed against the Jason-2 mission and several in-situ observations. The obtained results clearly confirm the excellent performance of CryoSat over the ocean.

The article is free to access, download and share at the following URL until 15 March 2017:


Calafat, F.M., P. Cipollini, J. Bouffard, H. Snaith, P. Féménias, Evaluation of new CryoSat-2 products over the ocean, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 191, 15 March 2017, Pages 131-144, ISSN 0034-4257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.01.009.

Published by EOWeb on Thu 09 of Feb. 2017

CryoSat Geographical Mode Mask 3.9 released

A new CryoSat Geographical mask is in place since week 5 (30 January 2017). 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.

Version 3.9 of the mask has been updated with respect to the 3.8 version (operating since March 2016) in order to allow new SAR and SARIN acquisitions over new areas of interest requested by the hydrological and coastal marine community. In particular it includes a new SAR zone for the Bengal Gulf and new SARIN zones over the Elbe, Rein and Niger rivers including a vast SARIN area over the Senegal.


Published by EOWeb on Wed 08 of Feb. 2017

CryoSat reveals lake outbursts beneath Antarctic ice

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.

This new information is helping scientists understand more about what's going on deep below the surface of the ice and what affects how fast the glaciers flow towards the ocean.

Thwaites and its neighbouring Pine Island Glacier are the fastest-receding glaciers on the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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Published by EOWeb on Tue 07 of Feb. 2017

CryoSat North American Science Meeting Programme now online

The Programme of the CryoSat North American Science Meeting has been published.

The workshop will take place in Banff (Alberta, Canada) from 20-24 March 2017.

Organised approximately seven years after the launch of CryoSat, the meeting will highlight areas where the mission has made significant contributions including cryosphere, oceanography, geodesy, hydrology, topography, meteorology and climate change. The meeting will be instrumental to collect and propose new scientific requirements, to identify novel scientific challenges in view of the extension beyond 2019 and, in general, for its possible successor.

The workshop is co-sponsored by several North-American and European institutions and supported by the Canadian Space Agency. The meeting is open to all interested CryoSat stakeholders and data users. There will be no conference fee but the participants are required to finance their own travel and accommodation.

Register on the workshop website

Venue: Banff Park Lodge Hotel, 222 Lynx St, T1L 1K5, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Published by EOWeb on Tue 17 of Jan. 2017

CryoSat Technical documents updated

Users are informed that new versions of the documents Known Biases in CryoSat L1b and Guidelines for sigma nought extraction from CryoSat-2 SAR data are now available online.
Published by EOWeb on Fri 16 of Dec 2016

Satellite cousins have ice covered

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.

Carrying a radiometer, SMOS was designed to capture images of brightness temperature. While these images can be turned into information on soil moisture and ocean salinity to improve our understanding of the water cycle, it turns out this data can also be used to measure sea ice.

In contrast, CryoSat carries a radar altimeter that measures freeboard of sea ice, which is the distance between the waterline and the top of the ice.

This is being used to work out how the thickness of sea ice is changing and, in addition, how the volume of Earth's ice is being affected by the climate.

Despite the two missions being very different, scientists from the University of Hamburg and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany, who are involved in both Earth Explorer missions, have found a way of combining data from both satellites to gain a more complete picture of changes in the thickness of ice floating in Arctic waters.

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