Taitus Applications for CryoSat


ESA’s 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.

ESA’s Earth Explorer CryoSat Mission


It is evident that the climate is changing rapidly and so it is of utmost importance to understand how terrestrial ice fields are behaving, especially in the polar regions. 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.

In order to understand fully how climate change is affecting these remote but sensitive regions, there remains an urgent need to determine exactly how the thickness of the ice, both on land and floating in the sea, is changing.  By addressing this challenge, the data delivered by the CryoSat mission will  lead to a better understanding of the role ice plays in the Earth system.

The CryoSat-2 satellite replaces the original CryoSat, which was lost owing to a launch failure in October 2005.  From an altitude of just over 700 km and reaching latitudes of 88°, the CryoSat-2 satellite monitors precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice. It borrows synthetic aperture radar and interferometry techniques from standard imaging radar missions to sharpen its accuracy over rugged ice sheet margins and sea ice in polar waters.

CryoSat-2 measures ‘free-board’ – the difference in height between sea ice and adjacent water – as well as ice sheet altitude, tracking changes in ice thickness.


(source CryoSat-2/ESA)

Mission User Request Management (MURM)

The MURM is a Windows stand-alone application for the collection and management of the requirements for CryoSat data acquisition and dissemination.  The requirements are inserted and analysed in the MURM and the appropriate files (Single User Definition, Single Zone Definition and Planning Request files) are generated and sent to the Reference Planning Facility (RPF).                                                    

The MURM serves as a repository for user and project information, sharing information with the Multi-mission Order Handling System (MMOHS). It provides the ability to associate users with projects and subsequently with user classes for the generation of product distribution lists. There is also a facility to store the user correspondence and to have the entire interaction history necessary for the project evaluation for approval.

A graphical user interface and data shown on a 2D /3D map and/or the Gantt chart provide immediate visualization and analysis.

CryoSat User Tool (CUT)

The CUT is a Windows stand-alone application for the display of CryoSat product locations and zones with an integrated product archive browser and downloader. Connection to one or more FTP servers allows for remote access of the products.

The CUT has an intuitive and user-friendly graphical user interface allowing for simultaneous product visualization geographically on a 3D (or 2D) world map and temporally on a Gantt chart.

The product display can be customized by filtering based on time and by region(s). CUT also provides a way to search products on the remote FTP server as well as the generation of acquisition times given a region(s) and a time range.