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Airborne CryoSat and ICESat cross-calibration campaign

CryoVEx 2019


Program / partnership
Project start
Project end
Type of project
Authority, e.g. §14
Project theme
Project topic
Remote sensing

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Fieldwork region
Arctic Ocean
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 83.124236013936, -17.155151367188

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan

The National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) continues its airborne validation and monitoring program of the land- and sea ice in and around Greenland in the spring 2019. The program will be carried out as part of ESA CryoSat calibration Experiment (CryoVEx) to obtain cross-validation of ESA CryoSat-2 and recently launched (September 2018) NASA ICESat-2 altimeter missions. 

To support the operations a Twin Otter aircraft (Reg. TF-POF) is chartered from Norlandair, Iceland. It has been decided to keep the dual-frequency (Ku/Ka) airborne radar setup combined with high-resolution near-infrared laser scanner, as flown since CryoVEx/KAREN 2016 October campaign. As the dual-frequency radar instruments might provide snow depths over sea ice, flights over sea ice will be coordinated with Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) airborne program called “IceBird” out of Station Nord, and potential NASA Operation IceBridge (OIB) operating out of Thule AB, as these campaigns provide independent measurements of snow depth.  

Installation and test flight will take place in Akureyri, Iceland. Main sea ice flights will be flown in the Arctic Ocean out of Station Nord. Due to the lower orbit turn-around latitudes (~81.5N) of Sentinel-3 and SARAL/AltiKa there is planned a sea ice flight in Baffin Bay on route from Thule AB to Ilulissat. Transit flights crossing the Greenland IceSheet will provide cross-overs of all altimeter missions (CryoSat, ICESat-2, Sentinel-3 and SARAL/AltiKa), and dedicated orbits of CryoSat and ICESat will be flown out of Ilulissat with optional in situ work to support the airborne measurements.