Sea ice altimetry

CPOM researchers at UCL are using radar altimeter data from CryoSat to investigate ongoing changes in Arctic sea ice thickness and volume. Observations of sea ice volume are critical, as changes in volume impact the heat and freshwater budgets of the Arctic and have wider implications for the global climate. This project also aims to improve our understanding of how sea ice behaves in terms of its mechanics, with particular emphasis on the factors that drive regional and interannual variations in ice thickness and volume.

Our researchers are also working to provide near real time sea ice thickness data to the scientific community and operational users.

Arctic sea ice thickness in April 2015, as recorded by CryoSat

Arctic sea ice thickness in April 2015, as recorded by CryoSat

As part of the project, CPOM-UCL PhD student Rachel Tilling has participated in sea ice fieldwork campaigns organised by the ESA and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, using a sled-mounted radar to investigate the properties of snow on Arctic sea ice.

ESA’s CryoVEx campaign, spring 2014.  Credit: Rachel Tilling

ESA’s CryoVEx campaign, spring 2014. Credit: Rachel Tilling

Rachel 2

Aranda sea ice research cruise, spring 2016. Credit: Rachel Tilling