Yesterday at one of the EGU 2015 poster sessions I had a short chat with Tommasso Parrinello, the ESA's CryoSat-2 mission manager. He told me lots of useful improvements have been made in the past couple of months, and if all goes well the satellite can remain operational up to 2020 (no guarantees, of course), which means there will be an overlap with NASA's ICESat-2, allowing for an extended timeseries of sea ice thickness measurement data.
That's great stuff, but it gets better. The most interesting thing he told me - something a lot of us have been eagerly awaiting - is that soon near real-time sea ice thickness maps were going to be put out. He couldn't tell me how soon exactly, but as it turns out, it happened the next day, which is today. The maps can be found and viewed on the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (University College of London) website:
These maps come with the following disclaimer: "Note that the 14 and 28-day sea ice thickness maps are processed from CryoSat Near Real Time (NRT) data. These are preliminary fast access products which do not use all the precise corrections available in the final products, available 30 days later. The archive of monthly sea ice thickness products use the precise final CryoSat data as soon as it is available."
The BBC had the scoop today: