Over its three years of operating in full swing, the European Space Agency’s radar space satellite, CryoSat, has supplied evidence that the ice volume in the Arctic is shrinking.
Over its three full operational years, the European Space Agency’s radar space satellite, CryoSat, has supplied evidence that the ice volume in the Arctic is shrinking.
Last season’s winter mass was calculated to be 15 thousand cubic kilometers, reportedly half of what it was 30 years ago. Research to be conducted when the ice refreezes this Fall will determine if this is a new low.
The data adds to previous findings that the area the ice covers has been greatly diminished in previous years.
Many scientists feel Cryosat’s findings are particularly helpful as total volume is a truer measure of quantity than expanse.
To get its measurements, the craft uses its radar technology to measure the difference between the top of the ice floe and the top of the water that surrounds it.
Once those have been taken, scientists can quite accurately determine the volume of the floating piece of ice.
Now that they have data on volume, they are better equipped to find the cause of the shrinkage, be it man-made global warming, naturally occurring cycles, or a combination of the two.
Having been given a clean bill of health and additional funding, CryoSat will continue its mission until at least 2016.