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Sunday, August 27, 2006

European Space Agency, Ben and Jerry's study climate change

Following the loss of the European Space Agency's CryoSat Mission during launch last October the mission has been re-scheduled for early 2009.

CryoSat is designed to map variations in ice thickness at the earth's poles over a 3 1/2 year study. The fine scale measurements - to within centimeters - will help scientists establish possible trends in the growth and shrinkage of the ice caps, which in turn may reveal in more detail the processes fueling global warming.

Students at The University of Aberdeen, King's College are preparing ground studies in collaboration with ESA and this summer students from the Climate Change College, sponsored by Ben and Jerry's and the World Wildlife Fund, have completed a series of climate studies in the Artic, which will help calibrate CryoSat's data as it is recieved. ESA's CryoSat Mission planners hope to answer the question of whether global climate change is causing the polar ice caps to shrink, one of the most hotly debated environmental issues we currently face. By monitoring precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice, CryoSat-2 may at last begin to shed light on earth's changing climate.

by Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

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