ESAs Earth Explorer CryoSat mission, launched on 8 April 2010, is dedicated to precise monitoring of the changes in the thickness of marine ice floating in the polar oceans and variations in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Greenland and Antarctica.
From an altitude of just over 700 km CryoSat is indeed monitoring precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice, with an accuracy of 1 centimeter per year.
This unique accuracy is giving solid data to scientists and organisations who are studying the effects of a changing climate fast becoming apparent, particularly in the polar regions.
It seems increasingly important to understand exactly how Earths ice fields are responding.
Diminishing ice cover is frequently cited as an early casualty of global warming and since ice, in turn, plays an important role regulating climate and sea level, the consequences of change are far reaching.
This video was filmed in Greenland while Cryosat satellite was being calibrated so that its data could be validated.
It includes interviews with Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programmes (in english, german and french), Johan van de Gronden, CEO of WWF/NL (in english and dutch) and His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange, Crown Prince of the Netherlands (in english and dutch).
More backgroud information can be found on: http://www.esa.int/esaLP/LPcryosat.html