Navigation Links
CryoSat goes to sea
Date:5/29/2012

CryoSat was launched in 2010 to measure sea-ice thickness in the Arctic, but data from the Earth-observing satellite have also been exploited for other studies. High-resolution mapping of the topography of the ocean floor is now being added to the ice mission's repertoire.

The main objective of the polar-orbiting CryoSat is to measure the thickness of polar sea ice and monitor changes in the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica. But the satellite's radar altimeter is not only able to detect tiny variations in the height of the ice but it can also measure sea level.

The topography of the ocean surface mimics the rises and dips of the ocean floor due to the gravitational pull. Areas of greater mass, such as underwater mountains, have a stronger pull, attracting more water and producing a minor increase in ocean-surface height.

Therefore, instruments that measure sea-surface height incidentally map the ocean floor in previously uncharted areas.

There have been several recent global gravity missions, such as ESA's GOCE satellite, that provide extraordinarily accurate measurements of gravity at the spatial resolution of hundreds of kilometres.

But CryoSat's radar altimeter can sense the gravity field at the ocean surface, so that seafloor characteristics at scales of 5-10 km are revealed. This is the first altimeter in 15 years to map the global marine gravity field at such a high spatial resolution.

Recent studies at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, USA, found that the range precision of CryoSat is at least 1.4 times better than the US's Geosat or ESA's ERS-1.

They estimate that this improved range precision combined with three or more years of ocean mapping will result in global seafloor topography bathymetry that is 2-4 times more accurate than measurements currently available.

"We know more about the surfaces of Venus and Mars than we do about the bathymetry of deep oceans," said David Sandwell from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US.

"This new mapping from CryoSat will revolutionise our understanding of ocean floor tectonics and reveal, perhaps, 10 000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes."

Most satellite radar altimeters such as the one on the joint CNES/NASA/Eumetsat/NOAA Jason-2 follow repeated ground-tracks every 10 days to monitor the changes in ocean topography associated with ocean currents and tides.

CryoSat's 369-day repeat cycle provides a dense mapping of the global ocean surface at a track spacing of over 4 km. Three to four years of data from CryoSat can be averaged to reduce the 'noise' due to currents and tides and better chart the permanent topography related to marine gravity.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Meisner
robert.meisner@esa.int
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. CryoSat-2 exceeding expectations
2. Successful launch for ESAs CryoSat-2 ice satellite
3. CryoSat-2 ready for launch
4. CryoSat-2 installed in launch silo
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, Utah ... (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume laboratory in ... Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing informatics ... the launch of a project to establish the informatics ... NSO has been contracted by the ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... , March 17, 2016 ABI Research, ... forecasts the global biometrics market will reach more ... 118% increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, ... fingerprint sensors anticipated to reach two billion shipments ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... , March 14, 2016 NXTD ) ... mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new series ... the week of March 21 st .  The commercials will ... its popular Squawk on the Street show. --> ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... YORK , May 2, 2016 ... announces that its technology partner Mannin Research Inc. will ... Ophthalmology (ARVO), which takes place from May 1-5, 2016 ... executives will be meeting with its vendors and research ... explore business development goals and other collaborative opportunities for ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the Feline Environmental ... revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces the bowl ... the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , Since being ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... in spinal surgical procedures, today announced the completion of a significant transaction and ... current and future customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Foundation (NSCF) to support the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the ... in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute in San ...
Breaking Biology Technology: