Minimize Snow and Ice
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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.

Sentinel-1's SAR mission supports snow and ice classification and glacier monitoring.

Sentinel-3's Altimetry mission supports sea-ice and ice thickness monitoring.

Minimize Thematic Results
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Sentinel satellite captures birth of behemoth iceberg

12 July 2017

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.

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Negribreen on the move

12 May 2017

Rapid acceleration of an Arctic glacier over the past year has been detected by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites.

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Sentinels warn of dangerous ice crack

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.

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Satellites monitor landslide in the Alps

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.

Copernicus Sentinel-1 data advance sea-ice monitoring

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.

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Iceberg patrol gains faster updates from orbit

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.

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Nansen gives birth to two icebergs

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.

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International effort reveals Greenland ice loss

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.

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Shaping next-generation scientists

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.

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Chasing ice

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.

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Satellites catch Austfonna shedding ice

23 January 2015

Rapid ice loss in a remote Arctic ice cap has been detected by the Sentinel-1A and CryoSat satellites.

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Sentinel satellite spies ice cap speed-up

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.

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Experts demonstrate versatility of Sentinel-1

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.

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Pine Island retreat on the radar

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.

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Prepping for radar vision

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.

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The dynamics of Daugaard Jensen Gletscher from 1985 to 2011

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.

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Climate - The hot topic in Doha

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.

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Clearest evidence yet of polar ice losses

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.

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Radar altimetry gains altitude in Venice

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.

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New study maps Himalayan glacier behaviour

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.