EGU General Assembly 2008
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  Information - CR2 State of the Cryosphere

Event Information
In the last decade major advances have taken place in our ability to monitor and model various components of the cryosphere. NASA launched their first dedicated cryospheric mission, ICESat, in 2003, while ESA continues to operate ERS-2 and Envisat and is planning to launch CryoSat II in 2009 and GEMs/Sentinel-1 in 2012. In 2006, JAXA launched a new interferometric SAR mission, ALOS PALSAR and in 2007 DLR put up TerraSAR-X, the first 1 m resolution civilian SAR. CSA launched Radarsat-2 in late 2007 in continuation of Radarsat-1 launched in 2000. ICESat and GRACE have provided new insights into variations in ice mass over the planet and the more recent missions promise to do the same. Various InSAR missions have been combined together to reveal the flow pattern of ice sheets and glaciers and reveal an amazing temporal dynamics on a variety of time scales. Co-ordinated international programmes such as the Glacier Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative are now delivering information on glacier variations around the world and ESA have initiated projects with similar scope for land and sea ice. In addition, the International Polar Year (IPY) officially began in March 2007 and the first results from co-ordinated satellite and field-based campaigns are beginning to emerge, with much more to come. Perhaps for the first time, many critical aspects of cryospheric research are starting to become data-rich, providing unprecedented challenges and tests for numerical models of these systems.

During the same time period, however, we have witnessed dramatic and major changes in the behaviour of ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and permafrost regions coincident with a near doubling of the rate of sea level rise compared with the mean of the Twentieth Century. These changes called for enhanced attention and focus on the polar regions and considerably increase the scientific and public demand for more realistic numerical predictions of the evolution of the cryosphere over the next century.

The aim of this session is to bring together the latest observations of ice sheet, glacier, and sea ice changes and a comparison of these observations with the most-up-to-date modelling studies that attempt to capture the current state of land ice, sea ice and permafrost, and predict what the coming century is going to look like. The session will include overarching topical solicited reviews on each of these components.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers
Georg Kaser
Julienne Stroeve
Robert Thomas


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