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Ice data at your fingertips

5 Jan 2012


Discover Europe’s ice mission, track it in real time and obtain the latest measurements with the new CryoSat application.


Information on CryoSat’s current position is automatically updated, including its visibility over selected ground stations. Users can also track the satellite’s position in relation to the iPhone or iPad’s geographical location. Credit: ACS/ESA. (JPG, 57 Kb) CryoSat is measuring the thickness of polar sea ice and monitoring changes in the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica.

The CryoSat iPhone and iPad application – or CryoSatApp – is now available at Apple's App Store.

CryoSatApp’s main menu provides access to four sections: mission description, a 3D model of the satellite, position tracking and data visualisation.

In the first section, users can easily find information on the CryoSat mission, including images, videos, archived news and an overview of how CryoSat obtains and delivers data.

The 3D model feature allows users to zoom in on how the satellite is built and discover its instruments – such as the radar altimeter for measuring ice thickness.

Information on CryoSat’s current position is automatically updated, including its visibility over selected ground stations. Users can also track the satellite’s position in relation to the iPhone or iPad’s geographical location.

But it’s the data feature that makes this app unique. Not only does it give access to all of CryoSat’s measurements, it can help you visualise the ice sheets by providing a vertical profile over the area.

All geophysical parameters stored in the CryoSat products can be easily displayed at the touch of your fingertips as soon as they are generated on the ground. Users can select the day and orbit from which they want to extract the data, and view Earth’s ice profile from that orbit.

This is a remarkable tool for students and scientists engaged in using CryoSat products.

Since its launch in April 2010, CryoSat-2 has been collecting data to improve our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.

The science team for CryoSat-2 is being led from the UK. The CryoSat-2 mission was first proposed by Professor Duncan Wingham of University College London. Head of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), he led the team that wrote the original CryoSat proposal in 1998. Today, Professor Wingham serves as CryoSat-2 Lead Investigator. Industrial partners include Marotta UK Limited which supplies high-performance fluid control components for space applications. AEA provided Cryosat-2's battery. SciSys UK Ltd developed the onboard application software responsible for controlling CryoSat's orbit and attitude as well as handling all of its communications with the ground segment.

In June 2011, the first map of Arctic sea-ice thickness was unveiled. The satellite will continue to monitor the changing ice for years to come.