by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Mar 27, 2017
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. Naturally, the mission is also used to map changes in the thickness of ice floating in the polar oceans, which is particularly important for the Arctic.
This new 'digital elevation model' was revealed at this week's gathering of CryoSat scientists in Banff, Canada. Tom Slater, researcher at the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM), said, "We used around 250 million measurements taken by CryoSat between 2010 and 2016 to create the most comprehensive picture of Antarctic ice elevation currently available."
It offers wide range of applications - showing the surface of Antarctica in such detail means it can be used in anything from planning fieldwork to modelling the ice sheet.
It also allows scientists to distinguish between changes in topography and ice motion when working with other satellite measurements, such as those used to calculate the balance between how much the ice sheet is gaining by accumulating snow and losing through melting and creating icebergs.
The model will soon be freely available via the CPOM portal, which already provides information on sea-ice volume and thickness, ice velocity and, shortly, ice sheets. In the meantime, however, the model can be downloaded here.
CPOM Director Andrew Shepherd added, "We want the digital elevation model to be accessible to anyone who uses ice-sheet surface topography measurements in their work.
"This should benefit not only studies of the Antarctic ice sheet, but also projections of future sea-level rise."
ESA's CryoSat mission manager, Tommaso Parrinello, said, "We are hearing some great results from our mission at the meeting here in Banff.
"It's now widely recognised that dwindling polar ice is one of the first casualties of climate change, but it's important to provide the hard facts - and this we can do with CryoSat.
"It's equally important to make sure the satellite's data are correct and so we have a huge international field campaign just started in the Arctic to take 'ground truth' measurements from aircraft and on the ice to compare with those of CryoSat. It's a tough environment - so we wish them lots of luck."
Sydney (AFP) March 15, 2017
Almost six million Adelie penguins are living in East Antarctica, more than double the number previously thought, scientists said Wednesday in findings that have implications for conservation. Research by an Australian, French and Japanese team used aerial and ground surveys, tagging and resighting data and automated camera images over several breeding seasons, which allowed them to come up ... read more
CryoSat at ESA
Beyond the Ice Age
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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|