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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

08 Apr 2010 01:04:06

Climate change space mission begins

Climate change space mission begins
A satellite that will measure the thickness of the ice at the earth's poles is being sent into orbit today (April 8th).

The Cryosat-2 spacecraft will be launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 14:57 BST.

If it makes it into space, it will send information back to a team of UK-led researchers, allowing them to monitor the melting of sea ice.

They will use the data to determine how global warming is affecting ocean currents, sea levels and the world's climate.

The first Cryosat craft was launched in 2005 but crashed minutes after take-off, landing in the Arctic Ocean.

Project manager Richard Francis, from the European Space Agency, told the BBC that the launch of the new satellite will be nerve-wracking.

However, he added: "It will be so exhilarating when the spacecraft finally makes it into orbit and we get the first contact with it."

According to figures from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, ice cover in the Arctic increased this winter during an unusually cold spell, reaching levels not seen since 2001.



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