Snow and Ice
One tenth of the Earth's surface is permanently covered in ice, but snow and ice is present across the world in varying amounts during the seasons. This process of ice forming and melting is an important indication of climate change, and satellites play a vital role in tracking this.
Satellite observations can also help to track glaciers and icebergs, and help plot safe shipping routes through icy conditions.
Over the last few months, a chunk of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf has been hanging on precariously as a deep crack cut across the ice. Witnessed by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg has now broken off, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.
12 May 2017
Rapid acceleration of an Arctic glacier over the past year has been detected by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites.
16 February 2017
Following the appearance of a large crack in the ice shelf close to the Halley VI research station in Antarctica, information from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites helped to decide to close the base temporarily.
03 February 2017
Climate change-driven glacial melt is causing landslides in alpine regions. Data from the Sentinel-1 satellite mission are being inserted into a new cloud computing system to monitor such hazards globally.
10 November 2016
Sea ice is a rapidly changing phenomenon. Timely measurements over large areas, at high spatial and temporal resolutions, are fundamental for its surveillance.
09 November 2016
The international iceberg patrol service set up after the sinking of the Titanic is now able to track drifting ice from orbit more swiftly through ESA-backed cloud computing.
14 April 2016
Multiple satellites, including Europe's Sentinels, have captured images of two large icebergs that broke away from Antarctica's Nansen ice shelf on 7 April.
13 November 2015
One of Greenland's glaciers is losing five billion tonnes of ice a year to the ocean, according to researchers. While these new findings may be disturbing, they are reinforced by a concerted effort to map changes in ice sheets with different sensors from space agencies around the world.
29 September 2015
With the new Earth observation satellites carrying a range of technologies such as radar and multispectral imaging instruments for land, ocean and atmospheric monitoring, data are available for the next 20-30 years. However, this means little unless there are capable people handling them.
21 August 2015
Satellite images show that the fastest moving glacier in the world shed a chunk of ice measuring around 12.5 sq km this week - one of the most significant calving events on record.
23 January 2015
Rapid ice loss in a remote Arctic ice cap has been detected by the Sentinel-1A and CryoSat satellites.
08 May 2014
Melting at one of the largest ice caps on Earth has produced a big jump in its flow speed, satellite imagery suggests.
08 May 2014
From climate change monitoring to supporting humanitarian aid and crisis situations, early data applications from the month-old Sentinel-1A satellite show how the radar mission's critical observations can be used to keep us and our planet safe.
27 March 2014
Twenty years of radar coverage from ESA satellites have been used to measure the rapid thinning of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier - and it's losing more ice than previously thought.
18 March 2014
Sentinel-1A, Europe's first satellite for Copernicus, is almost ready for launch on 3 April. Meanwhile, ESA is showing how its advanced radar will map ice, monitor subsidence and much more.
17 September 2013
Daugaard Jensen Gletscher, Greenland, is a large tidewater glacier covering an estimated 4% of the Greenland ice sheet. In this study the team investigate whether recent changes in the dynamics and mass balance of this sector of the Greenland ice sheet are reflected in the behaviour of this particular glacier.
06 December 2012
ESA joined international delegates in Doha, Qatar, to discuss how satellite observations show our planet's most sensitive areas reacting to climate change - and how this information is useful to the people living there.
30 November 2012
After two decades of satellite observations, an international team of experts brought together by ESA and NASA has produced the most accurate assessment of ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland to date. This study finds that the combined rate of ice sheet melting is increasing.
24 September 2012
Scientists have gathered in the 'floating city' this week to talk about radar altimetry - measuring the heights of the global sea surface, freshwater bodies, land and ice using spaceborne sensors.
23 August 2012
Glaciers are one of the largest reservoirs of freshwater on our planet, and their melting or growing is one of the best indicators of climate change. However, knowledge of glacier change has been hampered by lack of data, especially for understanding regional behaviour.