The northernmost part of the Baltic Sea, between Finland and Sweden, recently provided an ideal location for scientists to successfully address critical issues relating to sea ice validation before CryoSat is launched in September.
Unlike last years CryoSat Validation Experiments (CryoVEx 2004), which focussed on land ice and took place in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, the recent validation activities in the Baltic scrutinised issues relating to sea ice. The experiment examined the possible sources of error that could arise in the sea-ice thickness maps that will be generated using data from ESAs ice mission CryoSat.
Errors can arise, for example, where a snow layer is present on top of the sea ice. The weight of the snow tends to push the ice floes lower into the water, so that CryoSat, which translates the height of the ice surface above the waterline into ice thickness data, would underestimate the true thickness of the ice. Validation campaigns, thus, form a critical component of the whole mission; they provide the only means to reach a comprehensive assessment of how accurate CryoSat-derived ice thickness maps are.
Mark Drinkwater | EurekAlert!
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