Mobile version

Ice: ice sheets and sea ice

Altimetry measurements can also be used to determine sea ice thickness and glacier topography. Ice motion and spread are major indices of global climate change: ice, including sea ice, plays an active role in the climate due to the strong feedback induced by its high albedo, whereas continental ice mostly acts as a huge reserve of fresh water (77% of the Earth's fresh water is frozen in Greenland and Antarctica), that could significantly contribute to sea level rise.

The cryosphere plays an important role in moderating the global climate, and as such, the consequences of receding ice cover due to global warming are far-reaching and complex. While evidence suggests that ice sheets are relatively stable, there are indications that rapid changes are occurring around their margins, where the ice reaches the sea: changes that could weaken the ice sheet.
Altimetry is one of the most powerful tools for observing sea ice and ice sheets. For sea ice, altimetry provides a unique way of measuring its thickness. For ice sheets, their topography can be measured by altimeters, at least by those that can reach high latitudes. Moreover, altimeters also provide other parameters such as backscatter coefficient and waveform shape that give information on surface roughness and snow pack characteristics such as stratification or ice grain size. These parameters are related to relevant unknown quantities affecting the climate, such as snow accumulation rate or snow drift caused by wind.

  • Ice sheets

    Continental ice has an impact on sea level : if both of the major Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets were to melt, the sea level would rise by about 80 m. Altimetry is a powerful tool for measuring both the dynamics and mass balance of ice sheets.

  • Sea ice

    Sea ice is one of the least-known parameters needed for climate modelling. While its extent and age can be measured by other sensors, altimetry is the only one providing sea ice thickness.

Ice sheets validation at the CTOH

Ice validation for Antarctic and Greenland continents. CTOH investigates the stability and reliability of different corrections for the altimetric measurements. A validation chain is already developed specifically to the cryosphere (ICE validation).

  • <link newsstand links _top external-link>List of ice-related links
Rss feedsContactPartnersFAQLexiconLegal noticePersonal Data Protection PolicyMobile
You must enable cookies in your browser preferences to save the modifications
You are using an older version of Internet Explorer, please update to take full advantage of Aviso+ features

Customize the home page

View all widgets
Reduce display
Public profile
User profile

Select/Deselect widgets

Discover AVISO+

Customizable home, reading tools, products search guide, etc.. Discover step by step the features of the new site AVISO+.

Customizable homepage

This home page is composed of blocks called "widgets".

Rearrange the blocks with a "Click & Drop".

Hide a widget with the cross at the top right. Reset or add a widget with the "wrench" icon. The "User" and "Public" profiles offer a predefined organization.

All the modifications are automatically saved as cookies on your machine so as to enable you to have your own specific AVISO+.

Reading tools

Ease your reading by choosing the page background colour (black/white) and/or by modifying the font size.

Browsing menu and breadcrum trail

To ease your browsing through AVISO+, you can use at any time the main banner items with the interactive submenus or use the browsing menu on the left side of the screen (it is open by default). For more readiness of the page contents, you can fold and unfold the browsing menu by clicking on the tab. At any time you can know where you are thanks to the browsing menu or the breadcrum at the top of the page.

Products search guide

The first submenu of the "Data" banner item leads you to a new search form enabling you to find quickier the product that suits your needs. The list of results is updated according to your selection criteria.

AVISO+ Multimedia

The first submenu of the "Multimedia" banner item leads you to AVISO+ collections of images and videos linked to altimetry and its applications. Have a nice visit!