Satellite Giving Scientists 'ice' Insights

PARIS, July 20 (UPI) — Scientists have a new satellite tool for studying changes in polar ice and the effect of those changes on the global climate, European space officials say.

The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 orbiting satellite is providing data which should lead to a better understanding of how Earth’s ice fields are behaving and what those measurements might mean, an ESA release said Tuesday.

Data from CryoSat-2, launched in April, allow scientists to determine tiny variations in the thickness of ice floating in polar oceans and of the large ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland, the release said.

The data has been made available to around 150 researchers from 40 scientific institutions around the world.

“This is the first release of CryoSat data to users outside our project team, and notably early for a mission of this type,” ESA’s CryoSat-2 Mission Manager Tommaso Parrinello said.

Mission planners say they’re pleased with the satellite’s performance.

“We have been very excited by the level of detail we find in the data. We are seeing things beyond what we had expected,” Project Manager Richard Francis said.

“I’m pleased that we can share this excitement with the scientists who now have access, and look forward to the added insight they will be able to bring.”

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