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Project Reference

Name CryoSat+ Mountain Glaciers

Title CryoSat+ Mountain Glaciers

Thematic Area Cryosphere

Cost 100 - 200 K

Action Line Novel Algorithms and Products

Status In Progress

Missions CryoSat-2

Project Description


The aim of the CryoSat Mountain Glacier project is to quantify the contribution of mountain glaciers and small ice caps to sea level change from CryoSat observations of surface elevation change. Specific objectives are to assess surface elevation changes from (i) the current (L2) CryoSat products, specifically looking at the behaviour of the onboard tracker over large topographical range, and (ii), CryoSat swath processing. Swath processing exploits the full waveform of CryoSat’s SARIn mode to generate swath of elevation, providing 1 to 2 orders of magnitude more elevation than conventional point-of-closest-approach (POCA) method. The project has shown that swath processing of CryoSat data leads to improvement in the spatial coverage of elevation when compared to POCA, and this for all regions observed. Over high mountain glaciers areas such as High Mountain Asia, standard repeat methods to derive rates of elevation retrieval lead to low regional coverage and thus limited accuracy in regional volume change. A DEM-differencing method, building a CryoSat-swath DEM and comparing with existing DEMs however would lead to sufficient regional coverage. For all other regions, the project has delivered maps of surface elevation change at unprecedented coverage leading to robust estimates of volume change at a global scale

Project Consortium

Project Partners U Edinburgh : University of Edinburgh(Prime contractor)
UCL : University College London(Subcontractor)
isardSAT : isardSAT S.L.(Subcontractor)

Contact Points

Project Manager

Technical Officer


Useful Information

Brochure: STSE | Support to Science Element
STSE Report 2008-2012
STSE Conferences