European satellite to watch ice for climate change

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists' hope of pinning down more precisely the effects of global warming on the globe's ice packs are riding with a satellite that the European Space Agency will launch this week.

The CryoSat 2 mission is to start Thursday. It is designed to pinpoint details of changes in polar ice and help fill in gaps in an alarming picture of retreating ice caps. Though most scientists agree global warming drastically affects the Earth's ice shields, many also say too little is known with certainty.

CryoSat 2 will use radar technology from 720 kilometers (447 miles) above Earth's surface to measure the thickness of land and floating ice and pinpoint changes to within 1 centimeter (0.4 inch).