Dear CIRFA-partners, colleagues, and collaborators,

The year 2017 is approaching the end, and it is time to summarize with a brief status report.

We are happy to report that 2017 has been an extremely busy year, and the CIRFA-team has been contributing on many arenas.

The research is progressing. Several papers have been published in acknowledged peer-reviewed scientific journals, and our scientists and PhDs have had many contributions at international conferences. For detailed information, have a look at:

As was reported at the successful CIRFA Conference in October, our research is now focused around algorithms and methodologies for the retrieval of met-ocean, sea ice and oil-spill information from satellite-borne SAR data.

Much of our research is relying on relevant ground truth information for validation and calibration of satellite-based products. During dedicated field campaigns on and around Svalbard, WP2 Sea Ice Remote Sensing, WP4 RPAS Technology and WP6 Data Collection and Field Work, have collected data sets combining drone-based observations and ground-based radar measurements with observations from satellites for sea ice classification and iceberg detection. CIRFA has collaborated with colleagues at Centre partners or collaborating institutions (NPI & AWI) on acquiring validation data during their field campaigns. Thanks to this collaboration, CIRFA is currently having excellent datasets to support the work in all on-going research tasks.

We also mention the combined effort that WP1 Ocean Remote Sensing and WP5 Drift Modeling and Prediction, are doing on co-analysis of sea surface velocity estimation from satellite-borne SAR and ground-based HF-radars at coast of Finnmark (Fruholmen and Berlevåg). This work serves two objectives; as validation of the SAR Doppler product from Sentinel-1, and as performance analysis of the effect of assimilating SAR-based and HF-radar measurements into numerical forecasting models.

Together with the MOSIDEO project (another RCN project), the WP3-team on Oil Spill Remote Sensing conducted a large-scale oil-in-ice experiment in the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA). A large amount of measurements for studying microstructural properties of oil-in-ice and the capabilities of remote sensing sensors to detect and characterize oil on ice, were conducted during the experiment period of three weeks. The collected data is now being analyzed and will found bases for the research of two PhD-projects in CIRFA.

 CIRFA has had a large focus on education. In addition to educating PhDs, we are also providing opportunities for master projects. In 2017, 3 master candidates graduated from CIRFA, and 7 new projects have started up. Together with colleagues from University of Alaska, Fairbanks and University of Calgary, we started up a serious of three Summer Schools in Arctic remote sensing. The first leg was organized in Tromsø in May 2017, with 15 PhD students from Norway, USA, and Canada, and consisted of a one-week fieldwork cruise on the research vessel “Lance” into Arctic sea ice north-west of Svalbard, and another week of lectures and lab-work at UiT/CIRFA in Tromsø. This work is funded by an NFR INTPART project called Arctic Field Summer Schools: Norway-Canada-USA collaboration”, and the next leg will be held in Barrow Alaska in 2018.

Besides doing research and educating PhD candidates, CIRFA’s third core objective is innovation. CIRFA’s innovation Work Package is WP7 Pilot Service Demonstration. The most relevant innovations are new and improved products and services based on satellite data, combined with auxiliary information. WP7 is currently setting up “processing lines” related to our three application areas, which will allow for large-scale testing of new algorithms in operational settings. In order to get user-feedback to the output products, we have had meetings with NOFO, The Norwegian Coastal Administration, and the Norwegian and Canadian Ice Services. This topic was also discussed with CIRFA’s user partners at the Conference in October, and will in future, involve other relevant stakeholders.

We wish all our partners and collaborators a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration in CIRFA in 2017.


Ellen Ingeborg Hætta and Torbjørn Eltoft