Saturday, October 08, 2005

Satellite to Study Polar Ice to Launch

: "MOSCOW -- The European Space Agency was set Saturday to launch an ambitious satellite that scientists hope will gather unprecedentedly accurate data about polar ice and lead to new understanding of the effects of global warming.

The satellite, called CryoSat, is set to be blasted into space from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia. It is to orbit about 430 miles above the planet and reach latitudes just 2 degrees off the poles.

The satellite is to spend three years surveying polar ice using radar altimeters, which project manager Guy Ratier said will be able to assess both the comparatively thin sea ice in the polar regions and the miles-thick ice sheets that cover Greenland and the Antarctic land mass. Previous satellites have been able to assess only sea ice, he said.

'It is an advance in the sense we are not only looking at sea ice,' he said Friday by telephone from Plesetsk. He also said previous satellites surveying polar regions had flown at lower latitudes.

Sea ice, usually only a few yards thick, influences temperatures and ocean currents. The much thicker ice sheets covering land masses can raise sea levels if they melt significantly."

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]