British climate satellite to be launched

Oct 05, 2005

A British satellite designed to give an extremely accurate picture of climate changes at the Earth's poles is set for launch Saturday from Plesetsk, Russia.

U.K. researchers say the Cryosat spacecraft will provide a map of ice thickness across the Arctic for the first time.

The European Space Agency mission has been designed to obtain definitive data on the rates at which the planet's white caps are shrinking.

"What Cryosat is going to do for us is understand just how much ice is being converted to water, and just how fast that's happening," explained chief scientist Professor Duncan Wingham.

"We need that information partly to find out how fast change is occurring and partly to find out what are the longer and wider effects of that change," the University College London researcher told the BBC.

Cryosat is to lift-off on a converted military missile and circle the Earth in a polar orbit for three years, providing better coverage than existing satellites that miss a third of the Arctic Ocean, the BBC reported.

The new satellite is equipped with electronic devices that will reportedly measure the height of ice sheets and sea ice with unprecedented accuracy.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: N. America treated to partial solar eclipse Thurs.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU project sails off to study Arctic sea ice

Aug 29, 2014

A one-of-a-kind scientific expedition is currently heading to the Arctic, aboard the South Korean icebreaker Araon. This joint initiative of the US and Korea will measure atmospheric, sea ice and ocean properties with technology ...

Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?

Jul 22, 2014

New research suggests that Antarctic sea ice may not be expanding as fast as previously thought. A team of scientists say much of the increase measured for Southern Hemisphere sea ice could be due to a processing ...

The 'microbial garden' taking the shine off glaciers

Jun 11, 2014

The first ecological study of an entire glacier has found that microbes drastically reduce surface reflectivity and have a non-negligible impact on the amount of sunlight that is reflected into space.

Antarctica's ice losses on the rise

May 19, 2014

Three years of observations show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tonnes of ice each year – twice as much as when it was last surveyed.

Recommended for you

Big black holes can block new stars

5 hours ago

Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

5 hours ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

5 hours ago

An international team of physicists has measured a subtle characteristic in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that will allow them to map the large-scale structure of the universe, ...

User comments : 0