Greenland and the Netherlands look
to CryoSat for answers on ice

‘Roots2Share’ opening
17 October 2011

As the impact of climate change is felt in the Arctic, ESA’s CryoSat ice mission is highlighted as a source of vital information at an exhibition in the Netherlands opened by HRH the Prince of Orange.

The exhibition, called Roots2Share, opened on 13 October at the museum of culture and science, Museon, in The Hague.

The aim of the exhibition is to highlight the cultural relationship between Greenland and the Netherlands and their interests in understanding more about the Arctic and how changing ice cover will affect both countries.

ESA's ice mission

Around 100 students were present at the opening to learn more about Greenland and how ice is central to the way of life in the Arctic.

The reduction of ice cover around Greenland may offer new opportunities for navigation and the exploitation of natural resources. At the same time, ice melting from the vast ice sheet that blankets the country is likely have serious consequences for low-lying lands such as the Netherlands.

HRH Prince of Orange

One of the most important issues is to understand exactly how the ice is changing and what impacts this may bring to all.

By measuring variations in the thickness of the ice floating the in polar oceans and lying on land, CryoSat is collecting essential information to help answer these pressing questions.

Playing an active role in field of water management, Prince Willem-Alexander stated how important it is that CryoSat is providing detailed information on ice so that effective strategies to adapt to climate change can be adopted.

Arctic measurements

During the event, the audience was treated some video footage of Prince Willem-Alexander’s visit to Greenland earlier this year. Organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the expedition, called Missie Sila, offered an opportunity to experience the Arctic and learn more from the scientists working on the ice.

As part of Missie Sila, the delegation visited sites high up on the ice cap where scientists were taking ground-truth measurements to validate the data being delivered by CryoSat.

The exhibition opening ceremony was also attended by Inuuteq Holm Olsen Greenland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robbert Dijkgraaf from Royal Dutch Academy of Science, Johan van de Gronden Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Netherlands and polar explorer Marc Cornelissen.

Greenland coast

ESA’s Roger Haagmans, who was on hand at the opening event to explain more about observing Earth from space said, “Besides being used to study the effects of global change, information from satellites can also be used to plan future activities related to energy production, building infrastructure and preserving nature.

“This could be of use to help shape Greenland’s future plans.”

The video below offers a glimpse into some of ESA’s activities in Greenland to support the CryoSat mission and Prince Willem-Alexander’s visit.

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