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ESA's Earth Explorer CryoSat mission is dedicated to precise monitoring of the changes in the thickness of marine ice floating in the polar oceans and variations in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Greenland and Antarctica. The CryoSat-2 satellite due for launch in February 2010 replaces the original CryoSat, which was lost owing to a launch failure in October 2005.

The Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University is part of an international team of scientists coordinated by the European Space Agency, the Cryosat Calibration, Validation and Retrieval Team (CVRT). Since 2004 SPRI scientists have participated in field campaigns in Greenland and Svalbard, collecting data on the spatial variation of snow density and densification processes.

These campaigns provide information which will help to validate elevation data provided by the SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) to be carried on CryoSat-2 and allow these data to be interpreted in terms of changes in ice sheet mass and consequent sea level rise.

Further information on CryoSat can be found at: