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Arctic explorer delivers unique snow-depth data for CryoSat
Date:5/23/2008

Following a formidable 106-day trek across the Arctic, which ended with the two Arctic Arc expedition members relying on Envisat images to guide them safely through disintegrating sea-ice, intrepid polar explorer Alain Hubert recently visited ESA to handover a unique set of snow-depth measurements.

To coincide with the launch of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, Alain Hubert and fellow explorer Dixie Dansercoer ventured out onto the sea-ice to embark upon a trek from Siberia to northern Greenland via the North Pole a route never before attempted. Throughout the expedition, the polar explorers had to endure temperatures down to -40C, encounters with polar bears and the incredible physical demand of having to drag heavy sledges across pressure ridges of sea-ice piled up several metres high as well as cross open water where the ice had fractured. Nevertheless, Alain and Dixie took time out every 50 km to make snow-depth measurements for the CryoSat mission.

"It wasn't really difficult to take these measurements for CryoSat," said Alain, "It became part of our routine. The difficult part of the expedition was putting one foot in front of the other when the ice is breaking up around you. As co-founder of the International Polar Foundation, a scientist as well as a seasoned explorer - I aim to form a kind of 'bridge' between science and society. Observing the changes that are occurring in the fragile Arctic environment will help lead to a better understanding of the effects of climate change, and ultimately the Earth system as a whole. CryoSat is an exciting mission that will help answer questions about the polar ice so we were very happy to contribute through our Arctic Arc expedition."

Since the Earth Explorer CryoSat mission, which is due for launch next year, is designed to measure tiny variations in the thickness of floating sea-ice and ice on land, understanding the effects that the overlying snow can have on the measur
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Contact: Malcolm Davidson
Malcolm.Davidson@esa.int
31-715-655-957
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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