MetaSensing flies to the Arctic

After the successful campaigns of the previous years, once again MetaSensing is participating to the ESA CryoSat calibration Experiment (CryoVEx) aimed to the cross-validation of ESA CryoSat-2 and NASA ICESat-2 altimeter satellite missions.

MetaSensing Ka-band interferometric altimeter

Aerial view of the Akureyri, Iceland after takeoff. The on-board installation has been performed at Norlandair hangar in Akureyri.

The MetaSensing interferometric altimeter at Ka-band (KAREN) is operating on board a Twin Otter aircraft together with other instruments such as the Ku-band radar altimeter and the high-resolution laser scanner. The synergy of these datasets will allow the scientific community to retrieve snow depth estimations.

MetaSensing Ka-band interferometric altimeter

Belly view of the Twin Otter during refueling operations at Station Nord.

CryoVEx consists of an extended campaign in Greenland with acquisition flights over

land and sea ice.

These flights are being performed in coordination with other similar missions as the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) program “IceBird” and the NASA Operation “IceBridge” (OIB): these campaigns provide independent measurements of snow depth.

MetaSensing Ka-band interferometric altimeter

An opening in the sea ice, or lead, caused by the sea currents underneath.

While hosted at the Danish base of Station Nord, flights have been performed over the Arctic Ocean up to and beyond the 85° of latitude North, with the North Pole only few hundreds of kilometers away.

MetaSensing Ka-band interferometric altimeter

Aerial view of the Station Nord during a pleasant sunny day with temperature of -25°C, ideal for a science flight.

Afterwards, the team moved to the American Air Base of Thule, and down to the town of Ilulissat, while acquiring data over the Baffin Bay. A peculiar character of these latitudes has been encountered during the measurements, luckily from a safe distance.

MetaSensing Ka-band interferometric altimeter

A polar bear was spotted during the flight over the Baffin Bay.

The team is currently grounded in Ilulissat, due to bad weather conditions, and is waiting for a decent weather window that allows a second flight over the ice sheet, before heading back to Iceland and the Netherlands.

Finger crossed for the weather to clear up soon!

Performed flights for the CryoVEx 2019 - CryoSat/ICESat cross-calibration campaign (Courtesy of DTU).

Team picture at Station Nord. From the left: Alex Coccia (Metasensing), Alessandro Di Bella (DTU Space), Tania Casal (ESA) and Henriette Skourup (DTU space) are mixed with the Danish soldiers who kindly hosted the team. A big thank you to them for the warm hospitality.


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