Cryo-sat launch successful

Successful launch for ESA’s CryoSat-2 ice satellite

From the European Space Agency:

8 April 2010

ESA PR 07-2010. Europe’s first mission dedicated to studying the Earth’s ice was launched today from Kazakhstan. From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our ‘Earth system’.

The CryoSat-2 satellite was launched at 15:57 CEST (13:57 UTC) on a Dnepr rocket provided by the International Space Company Kosmotras from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The signal confirming that it had separated from the launcher came 17 minutes later from the Malindi ground station in Kenya.

CryoSat-2 replaces the original CryoSat satellite that was lost in 2005 owing to a launch failure. The mission objectives, however, remain the same: to measure changes in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland, as well as variations in the thickness of the relatively thin ice floating in the polar oceans.

Cryostat2  successfull launch
Successful launch for ESA’s CryoSat-2 ice mission

“We know from our radar satellites that sea ice extent is diminishing, but there is still an urgent need to understand how the volume of ice is changing,” said Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes. “To make these calculations, scientists also need information on ice thickness, which is exactly what our new CryoSat satellite will provide. We are now very much looking forward to receiving the first data from the mission.”

The launch of CryoSat-2 marks a significant achievement for ESA’s Earth observation programme and brings to three the number of its Earth Explorer satellites placed in orbit, all having been launched within a little over 12 months. CryoSat-2 follows on from the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) mission, launched in March 2009, and the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission, launched last November.

CryoSat  measuring the freeboard of floating sea ice.
CryoSat measuring sea ice

Earth Explorers are launched in direct response to issues identified by the scientific community and aim to improve our understanding of how the Earth system works and the effect that human activity is having on natural processes.

In response to this need, CryoSat-2 is carrying the first radar altimeter of its kind to overcome the difficulties of measuring icy surfaces. Its primary payload, the sophisticated SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL), was developed by Thales Alenia Space to measure the thickness of ice floating in the oceans and monitor changes in the ice sheets on land, particularly around the edges where icebergs are calved.

The CryoSat-2 satellite was built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium. The satellite is in a polar orbit, reaching latitudes of 88°. This is closer to the poles than earlier Earth observation satellites, resulting in an additional area of about 4.6 million sq km being covered. This extra coverage amounts to an area larger than all 27 European Union member states put together. The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence to further our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.

Now that CryoSat-2 is safely in orbit, the Mission Control Team at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany is busy with the critical ‘Launch and Early Operations Phase’.

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Henry chance

This will save the wandering troubadorss from taking such great risks with their lives. After this equipment collects data for a few hundred years, we can maybe have a good sample size.

Steve Goddard

Their mission statement defines a pre-determined agenda and assumptions.

The mission objectives, however, remain the same: to measure changes in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland

Perhaps the ice sheets are not changing significantly? Would that mean failure of the mission?

geo

Yay, Euros!
Now, we just need to wait about 10 years and we might have enough data to say something sorta useful. . . . tho that is rather hasty for these things.

NickB.

Kazakhstan?
Borat is going to be measuring world ice sheet volumes for the ESA?
/sarcoff

UK John

Cyro Sat- 2 will measure what it measures. I predict the ice will always be changing, that’s what ice does!
How the measurements are interpreted by human beings who want to prove one thing or another is however totally unpredictable.

supercritical

I’d be curious to know exactly how it measures the thickness of the ice. Surely if it is done with radar, enormous power would be required to penetrate the depth of ice to be found

enneagram

Hope it does not carry a convenient “tricky chip” on board, so to adjust data to settled IPCC dogmas before sending it back to the earth. ☺

M White

“The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence”
And here’s me thinking it was going to collect data.
The data, what will it be compared to? I assume there is no similar data availabe to compare it to?

supercritical

…. on Greenland and the Antarctic.
(sorry about the finger trouble …)

Royinsouthwest

@ Steve Goddard:
“Perhaps the ice sheets are not changing significantly? Would that mean failure of the mission?”
No, it would not. One of the most famous scientific experiments in history, the Michelson–Morley experiment, produced an unexpected null result which subsequently helped Einstein’s special theory of relativity to gain acceptance.
Irrespective of whether the results of the CryoSat-2 observations support or oppose the idea that the ice sheets will vanish every fair minded person should hope that the instruments are properly calibrated (so that the results can be relied on) and that the results will be accepted regardless of whose theories they support.
Roy

lex

I am always amazed how fast the native English speaker picks up the news and make their analyzes.
Here in Europe we realize this is just to support Russian rocket technology.

KPO

I’ll wager one of the first results to be released will be “the ice is thinner than we thought.” How thick/thin did we think it was/is and more importantly, relative to what/when? I foresee a spin doctors PR dream in the making. If this new measurement has to have any meaningful bearing the “normal” must be established with absolute certainty.

Steve Goddard

Royinsouthwest (12:27:30) :
NCDC is headquartered at ORNL’s “Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center”
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/
I’m always leery of data collection that appears to be tied to a particular belief system.

Cassandra King

Cutting through the adspeak and product promotion just what does this satellite do better than the existing satellites do now?
We know how thick the sea ice is and we already know sea ice extent accurately enough, we have detailed images and can examine multi year ice levels from the centre to the very edges of the ice pack and we also have satellites measuring the Greenland/Antarctic ice sheets already.
Is this satellite realy needed at all or in fact is the real agenda to provide work and funding for ‘on board’ agencies?

MattN

“I Exite!”

tty

Measuring changes in the thickness of the ice will still be very tricky. CryoSat can measure the altitude of the ice (both sea ice and glacial ice) with centimeter precision and with a resolution of about 250 meters. The thickness is another matter. Where there are reasonably large ledes the sea-level can be measured directly and the freeboard and thereby thickness of the ice can be calculated with good precision. In areas without leads the sea-level must be estimated, which introduces a great deal of uncertainty, there being no tide-gauges for “ground truth” in the ice-covered parts of the ocean.
Measuring changes in thickness of glacier ice is even more uncertain, since changes in the altitude of the ground under the ice can only be measured in a few places at the edge of the ice, and must be modelled everywhere else, with a lot of uncertainty. For example some models say that the ground under the Greenland icecap is sinking, while others claim that it is rising. As a matter of fact it is probably doing both in different places. And, yes, the change is significant. In parts of Scandinavia the ground is still rising almost a centimeter a year, as an after-effect of the last glaciation 10,000 years ago.

R. de Haan

I really think this satellite becomes a big success but the press publications and news broadcasts were very biased, like this:
“The satellite is supposed to observe the melting ice cap. This is especially important for the Dutch so they will know if the sea levels are going to rise 30 cm or three meters”.
This is in short is the hog wash public media (paid by the tax payer) are airing.
Did anyone tell the Dutch they now live in the former DDR?

Cassandra King (13:12:01) :
I have been looking into this lately, but I admit I’m not thorough. But it seems that we have no real idea about ice thickness since ICESat went off.

ShrNfr

In an improvement, this new satellite also carries a flippy floppy ice detector instrument.

Cassandra King (13:12:01) :
Anyway, part of what I said is in the press release up there too.

Frank

“The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence to further our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.”
Yes, too bad they used “evidence” rather than “data” . It sorta gives the objective away before the poor old probe gets into orbit.

geo

@Cassandra King (13:12:01) :
We do? From where? The only measurements on thickness I’m aware of are at best described as “occasional”.
This satellite will give you daily measurements that will allow us to finally have a daily approximation of “volume” instead of just “extent” and “area”, and will revolutionize the discussions. Eventually. If it stays up long enough and all the electronics work as designed.
Daily volume calculations should also make those chokepoints in June and December on the daily “extent” charts loosen up considerably.

KPO (13:10:50) :

I’ll wager one of the first results to be released will be “the ice is thinner than we thought.”

Probably so.
The only solution I can see is to start a new data base beginning with the very first measurement. No splicing, no “adjustments”, no altering of the data — which must be publicly archived on-line and in real time. This is taxpayer funded weather information, not nuclear defense secrets.
Enough scientists, technicians and engineers, including the rotating through of outside scientists, must be working together on site in such a way that fudging the data or instruments would be extremely difficult.
Calibrations must be traceable to physical standards, and a thorough record of all testing must be dual-signed by those responsible and kept in hard copy.
If everything done is not completely transparent and replicable, then this new satellite venture will be subject to the same pressures that enticed the corrupt CRU, Penn State and East Anglia scientists to make it up as they went along, with no chain of custody and with the raw data being “lost.”
This is the only opportunity that the ESA will have to show they are committed to honest science. Let’s hope they don’t squander it for the money, status and unaccountability that has so thoroughly corrupted government climate science.

woodNfish

“…leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our ‘Earth system’.”
“We know from our radar satellites that sea ice extent is diminishing…”
“Earth Explorers are launched in direct response to issues identified by the scientific community and aim to improve our understanding of how the Earth system works and the effect that human activity is having on natural processes.”
What a pathetic waste of money. They already have their conclusions. Glaciers and sea ice never vary without evil human causes. These whack jobs are a pox on society.

Steve

I couldn’t resist.
Kazakhstan greatest country in the world.
All other countries are run by little girls.
Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium.
Other countries have inferior potassium.

We won’t have any 30-year measurements from it 🙂 as it seems to be scheduled to work for 5 years or so.
As I mentioned in another post comments, we had better keep in mind that the EU is very keen in promoting carbon business.

Henry chance

World Bank loan for a new coal-fired power station in South Africa. APPROVED. 4 billion dollars. Of course it is far south and will not create CO2 to melt the North Pole.
Joe Romm and James hansen and the devoted greenie weenies will blow a gasket.

Jim Barker

I just hope the instruments and software were all calibrated using the same unit of measure.

DesertYote

Steve Goddard (12:00:39) :
“Their mission statement defines a pre-determined agenda and assumptions.”
WOOT, that exactly what I thought to myself as I read that paragraph!

John Trigge

From the “ESA’s Ice Mission” brochure (BR-199):
“There is now little doubt that the temperature on Earth is rising
due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere. During the course of the last century, the average
global surface temperature rose by about 0.6°C and 10 of the
warmest years on record have occurred since 1997. Scientists
are predicting that average global temperatures will rise by 4°C
by the end of the century.”
Will the data (evidence?) from this satellite suffer from confirmation bias of the AGW position? Probably.

Myron Mesecke

” ShrNfr (13:34:57) :
In an improvement, this new satellite also carries a flippy floppy ice detector instrument.”
It also carries a very sensitive artificial nose to smell the ice and see if it is “rotten”.

the_Butcher

How’s it possible to measure the ice thickness, most of the ice is actually under sea level.

belvedere

Hi Anthony,
This message is off topic, but i dont know how else i am able to contact u. I wanted to bring this to your attention :
http://www.oneplanetonelife.com/thecoming.pdf
A 97 page pdf talking about the “Fluff””or giant magnetic ribbon aka interstellar cloud discovered by NASA around October 15th 2009 in our close surroundings.
This could have a great impact on our daily live combined with the solar maximum uphand. Total electronic grid failure is something wich must be considered.
I am reading it right now and passed page 12 just now and wanted to share this with people who know more about this phenomena like you and people reading your articles. I will continue reading after i post this message.
I am following this subject on GLP (godlikeproductions) for a while now and someone took the effort for us all to sum up all the facts and took a look at it himself.
If there is another way to contact u, please tell me so, i dont seem to find a contact page on WUWT.
Take care,
Belvedere
REPLY: That’s what the Tips and Notes to WUWT is for. Thanks – A

DesertYote (13:59:40) :
Steve Goddard (12:00:39) :
“Their mission statement defines a pre-determined agenda and assumptions.”
WOOT, that exactly what I thought to myself as I read that paragraph!
They have to thank the sponsors. They used that mission statement to sell the project. I have no problem with people doing that.
It is still a serious, worthwhile instrument, that will give all of us accurate and NEUTRAL data.
Much better than the wasted funds for those various ICETROTTERS and BALOONBUFFOONS.
Hal

belvedere

@ Anthony,
I hope u dont mind putting it here. I hope u find the time for this to read, it is very, very interesting and could be very, very important to us all.
If anyone here on this website has more information for me or for us all to read or see, please share it.
A concerned Belvedere with bullshitfilter operating at high level 🙂

paullm

Josualdo (13:53:59) :
“We won’t have any 30-year measurements from it 🙂 as it seems to be scheduled to work for 5 years or so.”
Five year? Just enough time to accomplish almost nothing on it’s own. Any climate variations are possible within that insignificantly short amount of time may be interpreted to represent some erroneous “trend”. Using a series of satellites would introduce more “necessary adjustments”, but will any interest/funding continue? More funding? No problem – there’s always “birth taxes”.
Transparency? – will we find out exactly what the technology, programming and operation is?

paullm

belvedere (14:27:45) :
Hi Anthony,
This message is off topic, but i dont know how else i am able to contact u. I wanted to bring this to your attention :
http://www.oneplanetonelife.com/thecoming.pdf
Hmmmmm…checking out this lead I found at:
http://www.oneplanetonelife.com:
under Green Facts, Climate Change, Arctic Climate Change:
“10. Conclusion
Climate change presents a major and growing challenge to the Arctic and the world as a whole. Implications are particularly great for future generations that will face the consequences of current action or inaction. ”
Am I too hasty in dismissing this as a late April Fools prank? EM influences, etc. are concerns but….

belvedere

Nature does what it does.. It fluctuates and moves up and down in processes we cannot understand. 5 years does not make a difference, 30 years wont either.. 5000 years is more in the direction, but things come more clearly at 500 million orso years bases.. (just picking a number;) )
up and down.. up and down.. Could this mean that we are are doing this life over and over again? 🙂 Or is that too much matrix movie for you?

CodeTech

This is great timing. They’re launching just as we head into an upswing on polar ice.
I predict the data will not make regular headlines, just as the Argos buoy data doesn’t, since it won’t show what they want it to. Or they just twist it to show what it doesn’t show.

Gail Combs

UK John (12:20:29) :
Cyro Sat- 2 will measure what it measures. I predict the ice will always be changing, that’s what ice does!
How the measurements are interpreted by human beings who want to prove one thing or another is however totally unpredictable.
REPLY:
Not unpredictable at all
““The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence”
Given it is funded by politicians who want more of your money we know what evidence it is going to look for…. “I’m MELTINGGGggggg…..”

Chriscafe

Sorry if I’m missing something, but precisely how do they propose to use the satellite to measure:
1) Sea ice thickness
2) Sea ice volume
As usual, the devil is in the detail

“Five year? Just enough time to accomplish almost nothing on it’s own.”
The news report I read stated that it was a 3 year mission, but that the batteries, etc. could last 5 years. They may catch 3 Sept. minimums, but since they also stated that it is going to take 6 months before they start taking data, they probably miss this Sept. minimum and only catch the next 2.

JohnD

“From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our ‘Earth system’.”
I think that more properly should read, “From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to ‘climate change’ and the role our Earth system plays in it.”

Pascvaks

Space Science I – Hope for the best, expect the worst. If you’re lucky, and don’t have any preconceived notions about what you might find, you might be surprised and learn something new. Very iffy stuff space science.
Space Science II – Always have a ‘Black Mission’ attached to every public mission and you’ll get a bigger bang for your Euro, Buck, or Peso. Very iffy stuff space science, don’t waste any opportunities. Wonder what other things CryoSat-2 is sniffing at?
Space Science III – ‘Climate Change’ is currently a good cover or excuse to do many things that cost mucho Euros, don’t waste the opportunity to use this as an excuse for everything and anything. The public will pay more when they’re afraid!!
Space Science IV – AGW, ‘Climate Change’, etc., are great ploys for getting money for projects, but DON’T let anyone who believes this crap get a position in senior management.

ShrNfr

@the_Butcher et. al. To the extent that the radar signature penetrates the ice, the return length of the pulse will indicate how thick the ice is before it hits the more conductive liquid underneath it. The start of the echo is the top of the ice, the bottom of the echo pulse is a lower limit of how thick it is. Area*Thickness = volume. This is a conjecture on my part because I do not know the frequencies that they are using. Reflections are caused by a sudden change in index of refraction. The ice/air boundary would be one such change, the ice water boundary would be another. Just a guess, but that is how I would design it for the task.

wayne

belvedere (15:36:30) :
Nature does what it does.. It fluctuates and moves up and down in processes we cannot understand. 5 years does not make a difference, 30 years wont either.. 5000 years is more in the direction, but things come more clearly at 500 million orso years bases.. (just picking a number;) )

I just have to follow your thought. Let’s say a person’s heart beats exactly every second and a lifespan is 75 years and the Earth is halfway through it’s 9 billion year ‘life’. How long is the Earth’s heartbeat if the Earth has the same number of beats in it’s lifespan as us?
9 billion years per life-of-beats divided by 75 years per life-of-beats is 120 millon seconds difference (ratio). Or, 120 million / 365.25 / 24 = 1389 hours or 3.8 years/beat. Your right, that says 13680 years to the sun is like one hour is to us on the same ‘heartbeat scale’ and that’s basically nothing in the big picture!
I love curious comparisons. Gives you a real feel of different scales we commonly speak of.

James F. Evans

Data…empirical observations & measurements…to a high degree of resolution, that’s what’s needed.
Not “gloss” about Man-made climate change.
Hopefully, this satellite will provide just that: high resolution observations & measurements…and leave the “gloss” to others…

DR

It will be “worse than we thought”…..

brc

Why launch from Kazakstan? I thought the idea with rocket pads was to get them as close to the equator as possible, to get the extra spin from the earth? Plus, it helps to be on an eastern coast so the rocket can fall into the ocean if it fails. Hence Cape Canaveral, which is about as south as you can go and still be in the USA.
I would have thought European rocket launches would have been better done on the East coast of Spain.
Maybe it’s just because of all the legacy equipment of the USSR space program makes for cheap launches. Some Russian oligarch probably got it for free from a communist party mate.

lance

DR (18:26:13) :
It will be “worse than we thought”…..
you forgot rotten too!
why don’t they just fly a few airplanes over like they did last spring from Germany? I believe. Got loads of info in 1 flight, and blew away Catlin ‘findings’…