CryoSat recently delivered its annual map of sea-ice thickness data for the Arctic. The measurements, made between October and November 2014, show a small drop in volume compared with last year.
CryoSat was designed to measure sea-ice thickness across the entire Arctic Ocean, and it has enabled scientists to monitor overall change in volume. Measurements show the volume of ice has remained relatively stable for the past five years.
We must take care when computing long-term trends, as this CryoSat assessment is short when compared with other climate records, said Prof. Andrew Shepherd from University College London and the University of Leeds.
For reliable predictions, we should try other approaches, like considering what is forcing the changes, incorporating the CryoSat data into predictive models based on solid physics, or simply waiting until more measurements have been collected.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the satellite in 2010, and it has already exceeded its initial three-year mission. These measurements and ongoing monitoring are proving useful for maritime uses such as shipping routes and exploration.
For more details on sea-ice measurement, be sure to read Monitoring Polar Changes in the November/December issue of Earth Imaging Journal.