Saturday, March 31st 2012 - 23:40 UTC

Height of Antarctica ice sheet increasing

According to findings come from the Europe’s Space Administration ESA’s ice-measuring satellite, CryoSat, over the last two years Antarctica’s ice sheet has increased in height.

Pic by

In a press release ESA announced that the measurements from their 2010-2011 campaigns show the height of Antarctic ice to be an average of nine centimetres higher than the measurements obtained during the 2008-2009 campaigns.

ESA says these findings not only provide good news from the ice sheets, but also show the effectiveness of the CryoSat missions.

CryoSat is an ESA programme to monitor variations in the extent and thickness of polar ice through use of a satellite in a low Earth orbit. The information provided about the behaviour of coastal glaciers that drain thinning ice sheets will be essential to better predictions of future sea-level rise.

According to the ESA website,, CryoSat is the first scientific mission to address the thickness of land and sea ice and how this thickness is changing.

CryoSat took its measurements from a particularly harsh area of land in Antarctica, a plateau known as the “blue ice region” on the edge of the continent. This region is unique due to its vast expanses of polished blue ice.

Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of a glacier that winds its way toward a body of water.

ESA chose this unique region not only to study the thickness of Antarctic ice sheets, but also to test the accuracy of CryoSat’s primary instrument known as SIRAL or SAR / Interferometric Radar Altimeter.

The abundance of ice presents a more reflective surface with which to bounce radar signals. The length of time it takes to receive these signals once they are sent determines the height of the ice.

While conducting these tests ESA found that the measurements from their 2010-2011 campaigns show the height of Antarctic ice to be an average of nine centimetres higher than the measurements from their 2008-2009 campaigns.

To corroborate the ESA findings, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research, the german scientific organization located in Bremerhaven, also took separate measurements of the blue ice region.

By analyzing each set of data the scientists were able to determine the changes in height of the ice for three different periods.

According to the ESA press release, there was a five cm drop of the height of Antarctic ice from 1991-2000 that continued until 2008. ESA does not yet have information explaining why the ice height has increased, but are encouraged at the possible upward trend.

CryoSat is operated from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.


Nick Tozer - Buenos Aires

15 comments Feed

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1 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Mar 31st, 2012 - 11:48 pm Report abuse
It could also be expanding because the whole ice mass is warming... European science, oxymoron.

The new argentine satellites (considered amongst the best built, INVAP, COCINET, CONAE... all companies sought out by the Brazilians, NASA and Europe for space cooperation), going up will provide the truth, and our better scientists clear this up. Once our rocket program is running fully in a couple of years for light loads, we will be able to launch many more satellites.
2 GreekYoghurt (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 05:48 am Report abuse
@1 you're just saying that because you read it in a mullet-book. You're not allowed to read dangerous foreign books.
3 Dr Carrizal (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 08:57 am Report abuse
The truth is that water only expands when it is cooling - unlike metals which contract when cooling...
4 MurkyThink (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 09:17 am Report abuse
Correct written in English...

“” Height of Antarctica ice sheet soaring “”
5 GreekYoghurt (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 01:43 pm Report abuse
Does anyone else think that satellite's orbit might be a little low.
6 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 02:16 pm Report abuse
@5 That's because the europeans are morons who can't put a satellite on a stable orbit. Look at the recent Mars probe.

Argentina has just as good of a satellite industry and soon rockets for low-payload orbital delivery (at least that is what the world believes, they could carry other things of course).

Then we will get the answer.

Btw, to the nobel scientist claiming water expands, yes it does. But that's ice, not water... European science, dismal.
7 Dr Carrizal (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 03:14 pm Report abuse
The only difference between water and ice, Sherlock, is its temperature. When ice is heated it does not expand...
I don't know what brand of science you adhere to, but it lacks logic!
If, as you claim, ze yerpeens are morons, that would then make RGs and trolls, and especially RG trolls, sub-morons.
8 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 03:24 pm Report abuse
You mean sub-humans? and the ze yerpeens “the master race”.

Tell us something Europeans to the lone man do not believe. The world knows Europeans are nazis.

Ice expands when warmed, just as water expands when cooled. A 2nd grade in Argentina knows that as it's a typical experiment made. Its the one kids do right before the baking soda and vinegar volcano.

In Europe they don't do experiments anymore. They just rely on the Master Race mythology to claim they are smart.
9 Dr Carrizal (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 09:05 pm Report abuse
Yeah, right - sub-moron...
10 briton (#) Apr 01st, 2012 - 10:51 pm Report abuse
being so anti must be really sad for you.
11 Skåre (#) Apr 02nd, 2012 - 08:44 am Report abuse
In other news, ESA have announced that they mistook Christina's Swiss bank account for the Antarctica ice sheet.
12 hernanimken (#) Apr 02nd, 2012 - 10:37 am Report abuse
the truth is that water gains volume when it turns solid. the fact that the antarctic ice sheet thickens simply confirms what wheather scientists who don't belong to the climate change sect have been saying for years (12 at least that I know of), that is that the Artic is melting whereas the Antarctic is freezing.
P.S. happy 'Independence Day' to all Falklanders!
13 DJ56 (#) Apr 02nd, 2012 - 02:11 pm Report abuse
#8 - just go and look up the number of Nobel prizes won by European scientists and doctors (I got bored counting when I hit 150, but some 90 from the UK alone) and then compare it with the number of Argentinian winners ........ (er....3)
14 Skåre (#) Apr 02nd, 2012 - 02:56 pm Report abuse
@8 Truth_Telling_Troll

Yes, you imbecile, we know that ice expands when it freezes .. which is why it was of such great concern when the ice shrank every year between 1991 and 2008.

PS: Even after 65 years of sheltering all those NAZI scientists and war criminals, it has taken you until now to build rockets? No wonder your country is still so backward.
15 briton (#) Apr 02nd, 2012 - 04:37 pm Report abuse
that picture reminds me of a still from
[SPACE 1999]

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