Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ICE WORLD
Antarctic expedition checks CryoSat down-under
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Dec 13, 2011


CryoSat carries a new generation of altimeter called SIRAL. It is designed to measure very precisely the elevation of polar ice - even around the edges of ice sheets, which are difficult to observe from space because of their steep slopes.

Next week marks 100 years since Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. As a team of scientists brave the Antarctic to validate data from ESA's CryoSat mission, it's hard to imagine what these first intrepid explorers would have thought of today's advances in polar science.

The remote and vast expanse of the Antarctic is arguably the most hostile environment on Earth - infamously claiming the lives of Captain Robert Scott and his party all those years ago in their fated race to the South Pole.

While the polar regions are challenging, to say the least, for human survival, they are also very sensitive to climate change. In turn, polar ice plays a crucial role in regulating climate and sea level.

With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent, the CryoSat mission is gathering data on changes in the thickness of ice, both on land and floating in the oceans.

This information is needed to understand exactly how Earth's ice is responding to climate change and to help predict what will happen if trends continue.

To ensure CryoSat's data are as accurate as possible, ESA organises numerous research campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic.

These campaigns involve taking measurements from the air and on the ice to compare with the data from CryoSat orbiting above.

A team of Australian and German scientists from the University of Tasmania, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Alfred Wegner Institute has just finished the first leg a remarkable measurement campaign.

The campaign is being carried out in East Antarctica around Law Dome and Totten Glacier. Law Dome is relatively stable but features steep surface slopes and Totten Glacier is changing rapidly - so both offer ideal locations for validating CryoSat.

CryoSat carries a new generation of altimeter called SIRAL. It is designed to measure very precisely the elevation of polar ice - even around the edges of ice sheets, which are difficult to observe from space because of their steep slopes.

The campaign involves taking measurements from a Polar-6 aircraft. It carries the ASIRAS radar, which mimics CryoSat's SIRAL. Ground-truth measurements are also collected for comparison.

Christopher Watson from the University of Tasmania said, "Travelling on skidoo, the team gathered ground measurement over about 250 km transects.

"The skidoos drag GPS to map the height of the ice, which are later compared to the aircraft and satellite measurements."

"The experiment examines the influence that physical properties of the top snow and ice layer have on the radar signal that CryoSat emits and receives," explained Veit Helm from the Alfred Wegner Institute.

"Depending on factors such as snow particle size, the extent to which it has compacted and how it is layered, the radar signal can penetrate deeper or less deep and so is reflected differently.

"If we ignore these factors in the data, it may result in misinterpretations and less accurate maps of the changing Antarctic surface."

Malcolm Davidson, ESA's CryoSat Validation Manager, said, "The first attempt in East Antarctica had to be abandoned owing to terrible weather conditions.

"This makes the success of this year's activity highly-value and very welcome - both for ESA and for the scientists carrying out this challenging field work.

"It also provides a welcome opportunity to bring together the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Tasmania and the Australian Antarctic Division, whose work will help ensure we have the best-possible data to understand changing polar ice from space."

.


Related Links
CryoSat
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Tropical sea temperatures influence melting in Antarctica
Seattle WA (SPX) Dec 08, 2011
Accelerated melting of two fast-moving outlet glaciers that drain Antarctic ice into the Amundsen Sea Embayment is likely the result, in part, of an increase in sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, according to new University of Washington research. Higher-than-normal sea-level pressure north of the Amundsen Sea sets up westerly winds that push surface water away from th ... read more


ICE WORLD
Peres promotes Israeli moon probe

Hundreds of NASA's moon rocks missing: audit

Schafer Corp Signs Licensing Agreement with MoonDust Technologies

Russia wants to focus on Moon if Mars mission fails

ICE WORLD
System could be 'brain' for Mars rovers

Life possible on 'large parts' of Mars: study

Opportunity to Stop and Study Rocks

Russia could join ExoMars as full partner

ICE WORLD
TASC Wins $133.9 Million NASA Contract

US mulls tax break for space 'burials'

Ball Aerospace Delivers Orion Phased Array Antenna EDUs

Voyager Hits New Region at Solar System Edge

ICE WORLD
Two and a Half Men for Shenzhou

China honors its 'father' of space efforts

Philatelic Cover Reveals the secret names of second Taikonaut team

First Crew for Tiangong

ICE WORLD
ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers Ready For Launch To ISS

Astronaut TJ Creamer Learns Space Station Science From the Ground Up

FLEX-ible Insight Into Flame Behavior

Growing Knowledge in Space

ICE WORLD
AMOS-5 Communications Satellite Successfully Launched

Second Arianespace Soyuz rolled out for launch at Spaceport Kourou

O3b signs agreement with Arianespace for third Soyuz launch

NASA Announces Launch Date and Milestones for Spacex Flight

ICE WORLD
Giant Super-Earths Made Of Diamond Are Possible

New Planet Kepler-21b discovery a partnership of both space and ground-based observations

Astronomers Find Goldilocks Planet and Others

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, a new online database of habitable worlds

ICE WORLD
Researchers find best routes to self-assembling 3D shapes

Avatars develop real world skills

Tablets, e=readers closing book on ink-and-paper era

New insights into how the brain reconstructs the third dimension




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement