Ice caps

DTU Space uses satellite and planes to monitor Greenland’s melting ice cap. There is broad consensus that the ice is melting due to global warming, but the speed at which it is melting remains a subject for discussion. Research at the Institute provides more precise answers to this question, thus enabling society to better prepare for the consequences of climate change.

As ice melts, parts of the continental bedrock begin to rise, and this can be measured using GPS. The Institute is engaged in establishing a network of stationary GPS stations around the ice cap in order to accurately measure the degree to which the bedrock is rising and thus the rate at which the ice is melting.

DTU Space is involved in ESA’s satellite mission Cryosat-2. The objective of the mission is to accurately measure the thickness of the ice cap and the sea ice and map variations in the thickness over a 3½year period. Among other things, the Institute contributes to the project by carrying out airborne measurements in Greenland. Once the satellite has been launched, the measurements will be used to verify that the satellite is functioning correctly and to fine-tune instruments on board.


Envisat image of South Greenland. Photo: ESA