Detailed map of Arctic sea-ice thickness from ESA's CryoSat satellite

Using data from ESA’s CryoSat satellite, scientists can observe the changes in Arctic sea-ice thickness between October 2010 and March 2011. Every year, the Arctic Ocean during the winter months experiences the formation of vast amounts of floating ice, and melting during the summer months.

(Note: due to the satellite’s 92° inclination, a small area around the north pole is not observable)

credit: CPOM/UCL/ESA/Planetary Visions

Prof Volker Liebig, one of the researchers behind the project, explains to the BBC:
“The message is that Cryosat is working extremely well. Its data are very reliable and the measurements we have match reality. We now have a very powerful tool to monitor the changes taking place at the poles.”

ESA's CryoSat satellite

Detailed map of Arctic sea-ice thickness from ESA's CryoSat satellite

CryoSat satellite also surveys the surface of continental ice sheets to detect small elevation changes. Information on precise variations in ice thickness will further our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate change.

Credits: ESA /AOES Medialab