Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

CryoSat ice satellite rides new waves
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Dec 27, 2011

Estimate of wind speed over oceans using data from ESA's CryoSat mission from 17 November - 13 December. The product was generated by NOAA using CryoSat's fast delivery mode radar echoes. Credits: NOAA - E. Leuliette.

ESA's CryoSat mission has been gathering detailed information on the thickness of Earth's ice since its launch in 2010. Through international collaboration, this state-of-the-art mission is soon to be used to monitor conditions at sea for marine forecasting.

CryoSat was built to measure tiny variations in the thickness of Earth's ice. As a result, the mission is providing scientists with the data they need to help improve our understanding of the relationship between ice, climate and sea level.

As CryoSat orbits from pole to pole, it passes over vast expanses of ocean. So while the mission was designed specifically for ice monitoring, it can also serve to help improve the safety of marine traffic.

The satellite carries Europe's first radar altimeter specialised for the purpose of detecting tiny variations in the height of the ice - but it can also be used to measure sea level and the height of the waves.

The instrument sends out short radar pulses and measures the time it takes for the signals to travel from the satellite to the ground and back. This information provides the height of the surface below.

The advantage of yielding this kind of information from CryoSat is also down to the advanced performance of its main SIRAL instrument.

When data from CryoSat are merged with other altimeter data such as that from the Envisat and Jason satellites, the combined estimation of wave height and wind speed is greatly improved.

In addition, thanks to its drifting orbit, CryoSat allows a high number of crossovers with other altimeter missions. This provides a set of measurements that have not been available before.

Marine weather forecasts are essential for the safe passage of vessels but accurate forecasts need a supply of timely wind and wave observations.

Since CryoSat's primary objective was measure ice, fast data delivery was not initially intended.

However, the CryoSat team has changed this to demonstrate that CryoSat can deliver marine information in near-real time from most of its orbits around Earth.

Up to now, this new product called 'fast delivery mode' has only been provided to organisations such the National Ocean and Atmospheric Organisation (NOAA) in the US.

This is about to change: marine information is expected to be available systematically to all users from February.

At NOAA's Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry (LSA), the CryoSat data are processed to estimate wind speed and wave height, which are then provided to forecasters at NOAA's National Centres for Environmental Predication.

CryoSat is also providing data on sea level. This is important for monitoring the movement of the ocean waters and mapping the heat content of the upper layers - a reservoir of energy that can lead to tropical storms and hurricanes.

LSA combines CryoSat data with information from other organisations such as the French space agency CNES, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and NASA.

This processing takes a matter of only three days. NOAA delivers these data to ocean modellers and forecasters worldwide.

For example, Australia's Integrated Marine Observing System now uses CryoSat observations of sea level to monitor surface currents.

This is not only a prime example of what an international approach can achieve in Earth observation, but also demonstrates that although ESA's family of Earth Explorer satellites are designed with a specific scientific objective in mind, they are able to offer so much more - benefiting both science and the way we live.


Related Links
CryoSat at ESA
Beyond the Ice Age

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

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

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

Using new technology to record Antarctic Ocean, ice temperatures
Reno NV (SPX) Dec 23, 2011
Half-mile long thermometers have been dropped through the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica that will give the world relevant data on sea and ice temperatures for tracking climate change and its effect on the glacial ice surrounding the continent. The study based at the University of Nevada, Reno is funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs and other NSF grants. "This ... read more

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

Meteorite Shock Waves Trigger Dust Avalanches on Mars

Opportunity at One of its Two Winter Spots

Scientists find microbes in lava tube living in conditions like those on Mars

MARSIS Completes Measurement Campaign Over Martian North Pole

NASA Conducts Orion Parachute Testing for Orbital Test Flight

Astrophysicist John Grunsfeld to Head NASA Science Directorate

A Brighter Future for Spaceflight

Goddard Scientists Selected as Participating Scientists in Mars Lab and Cassini Missions

Tiangong-1 orbiter starts planned cabin checks against toxic gas

China celebrates success of space docking mission

Two and a Half Men for Shenzhou

China honors its 'father' of space efforts

New crew arrives at international space station

NASA 'Smart SPHERES' Tested on ISS

Russia sends multinational crew to ISS

As Soyuz Rolls ISS Crew Work On Science

Launch of Russian Proton-M carrier rocket postponed

Russian satellite crashes into Siberia after launch

Next ESA Astronaut Ready For Launch As Soyuz Rolls Out

Acra Control Proven in Low Earth Orbit

New Exo planets raise questions about the evolution of stars

Astronomers discover deep-fried planets

Two new Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

NASA Discovers First Earth-Size Planets Beyond Our Solar System

$25 computer nears production

China seeks steady rare earths exports in 2012

Siberian man miraculously unharmed as satellite piece crashes through roof

HokieSpeed, a new powerful supercomputer for the masses

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