Abstract's details

CryoSat-2 for enhanced sea-ice thickness and ocean observations in Antarctica CryoSat+ Antarctica

Michel Tsamados (CPOM, Earthe Sciences, UCL, United Kingdom)


Baker Steve (MSSL, UK); Shepherd Andrew (CPOM, Univeristy of Leeds, UK); Fleury Sara (LEGOS, France); Thibaut Pierre (CLS, France); Andersen Ole (DTU, Denmark); Roca Monica (isardSAT, Spain); Jérome Bouffard (ESA, Italy)

Event: 2019 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science IV: Altimetry for Cryosphere and Hydrology

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: not provided


Why has Antarctic sea ice experienced a small increase in extent over the past decades in stark contrast to the rapid decline observed in the Arctic? What role are the Southern Ocean and sea ice playing in controlling the Deep Water formation and thermohaline circulation and the melting of the Antarctic ice shelves and sea level rise? Only satellite remote sensing can provide the pan-Antarctic view required to fully understand these changes to the Southern Hemisphere’s sea ice and ocean fields in response to anthropogenic warming.

Over the last 8 years CryoSat-2 (CS2) has allowed a radically new view of the ice covered Arctic Ocean, providing us with the first pan-Arctic sea ice thickness maps, dynamic topography and geostrophic currents, and indirectly a wealth of geophysical products ranging from Eddy kinetic energy (EKE), Ekman upwelling / downwelling, to snow on sea ice, and improved tidal models, or better resolved bathymetry at the bottom ocean.

In Antarctica similar products have emerged but remain at a lower level of maturity. Specific challenges in the processing of the radar signal result from the complex surface characteristics of the ice covered Southern Ocean such as the sea ice flooding from snow loading or the highly fragmented and divergent marginal ice zone like nature of the sea ice cover. In addition, validation of sea ice and ocean products is hindered by the observational gap of in-situ and airborne data in the Southern Hemisphere.

The overarching objective of this ESA funded multi-centre funded CryoSat+ Antarctica project is to address these issues by developing new approaches and algorithms that could be implemented in ESA’s CryoSat-2 ground segment processor to produce state of the art sea ice and ocean products that will be validated against a comprehensive dataset of airborne and in-situ measurements and result in scientific progress for our understanding of the Antarctic Climate system and ocean circulation.

Our product development and validation will have two streams that will bring together the expertise of our wide consortium. First, comparison of various detection and retracking algorithms and processing chains will be performed along-track as the satellite’s footprint advances from open ocean, through sea ice, leads and polynyas while it switches between the LRM, SAR, and SARIN acquisition modes. Second, gridded products from the different groups will be compared at a pan-Antarctic scale and against in-situ, airborne and other satellite. This inter-comparison exercise will result in recommendation for an optimal processor and provide an estimated mean and standard deviation for the geophysical parameters of interest (i.e. sea ice thickness, dynamic topography) while uncertainty of these products will be provided when observational ground truth is available.

The expertise of the individuals within the project consortium is a major asset of this project. UCL (now also Leeds University) originally developed and proposed the CryoSat-2 (CS2) mission concept and the CS2 Level-2 ground segment processors and have an independent capability for processing CS2 mission data since its launch in April 2010. All team members from CLS, DTU, LEGOS, iSAT, UL, MSSL and ES are actively involved in research projects producing, validating or using sea ice thickness and sea level products from a wide variety of datasets. Together they provide a great breadth of knowledge and expertise that will be exploited during this project. The team has an established track record of publishing work on sea ice and polar oceanography in high profile scientific journals.

In this presentation we will give an overview of the latest results from our all our consortium partners on the CryoSat+ Antarctica ESA project.

Poster show times:

Room Start Date End Date
The Gallery Tue, Oct 22 2019,16:15 Tue, Oct 22 2019,18:00
The Gallery Thu, Oct 24 2019,14:00 Thu, Oct 24 2019,15:45
Michel Tsamados
CPOM, Earthe Sciences, UCL
United Kingdom