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- University of Leeds United Kingdom
- University of Toulouse France
- Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany Germany
- Technical University of Denmark Denmark
- European Space Agency France
- Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales France
- DTU Space Denmark
- European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites Germany
- Institut de Recherche pour le Développement France
- Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres Germany
- French National Centre for Scientific Research France
- CNES France
- Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research Germany
- University of Maryland, College Park United States
- Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling United Kingdom
- Finnish Meteorological Institute Finland
- Centre National D'Etudes Spatiales France
- Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Paris, France France
- Université Paris Diderot France
- Utrecht University Netherlands
- University of Calgary Canada
- Centre National d'Études Spatiales France
- European Commission Belgium
The Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) mission is one of six high-priority candidate missions (HPCMs) under consideration by the European Commission to enlarge the Copernicus Space Component. Together, the high-priority candidate missions fill gaps in the measurement capability of the existing Copernicus Space Component to address emerging and urgent user requirements in relation to monitoring anthropogenic CO2 emissions, polar environments, and land surfaces. The ambition is to enlarge the Copernicus Space Component with the high-priority candidate missions in the mid-2020s to provide enhanced continuity of services in synergy with the next generation of the existing Copernicus Sentinel missions. CRISTAL will carry a dual-frequency synthetic-aperture radar altimeter as its primary payload for measuring surface height and a passive microwave radiometer to support atmospheric corrections and surface-type classification. The altimeter will have interferometric capabilities at Ku-band for improved ground resolution and a second (non-interferometric) Ka-band frequency to provide information on snow layer properties. This paper outlines the user consultations that have supported expansion of the Copernicus Space Component to include the high-priority candidate missions, describes the primary and secondary objectives of the CRISTAL mission, identifies the key contributions the CRISTAL mission will make, and presents a concept – as far as it is already defined – for the mission payload.