Scientists working with the European Space Agency (ESA) Cryosat satellite have discovered that Arctic ice loss has been massive in the years between 2003 and 2012. The ice loss is indicated at declining by 36% during autumn and 9% during winter. Cryosat satellite can measure ice thickness using a high-resolution radar altimeter. To achieve this, the altimeter of the satellite shoots microwave energy towards the ice. This energy bounces of the ice sections and off the water in the cracks. The difference in the values is used to calculate the height of ice above water and the volume of the ice covering. Scientists have been collecting data for the past two years for this research.

“Other satellites have already shown drops in the area covered by Arctic sea ice as the climate has warmed, but CryoSat allows scientists to estimate the volume of sea ice – a much more accurate indicator of the changes taking place in the Arctic,” added Tommaso Parrinello, CryoSat Mission Manager. The research was funded by European Space Agency, the German Aerospace Center, Alberta Ingenuity, NASA, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. Read more on Treehugger

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