© European Space AgencyMap of Greenland with temperature changes.
Researchers have utilised more than a decade's worth of data from radar altimeters on ESA's ERS satellites to produce the most detailed picture yet of thickness changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet.
A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period. The research is due to be published by Science Magazine
in November, having been published in the online Science Express
on 20 October.
ERS radar altimeters work by sending 1800 separate radar pulses down to Earth per second then recording how long their echoes take to bounce back 800 kilometres to the satellite platform. The sensor times its pulses' journey down to under a nanosecond to calculate the distance to the planet below to a maximum accuracy of two centimetres.
As it stands today (March 2, 2009) Cryosat2 is scheduled to launch later this year. Interesting how such a great tool (CryoSat1) that would have helped examine the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets should have been tragically (conveniently for some) lost.
The loss of the recent CO2 emissions analyzing satellite
is similarly interesting. The High Risks involved in space launches seems to find a way to target some of our most promising data sensors for "Global Warming" research.