CIRFA Newsletter June 2017

Tromsø 30.06.2017


Dear CIRFA-partners, colleagues, and collaborators,

It is time to give a brief summary report from CIRFA before the summer vacation. This semester has been filled with exiting activities and events.


On March 23rd CIRFA had “site visit” from the Research Council of Norway. The visitors from RCN were Kai Mjøsund (Department Director), Liv Jorunn Jenssen (SFI Coordinator), Andreas Q. Nielsen (CIRFA contact). From CIRFA the following persons were present: Torbjørn Eltoft (Center Leader, UiT), Ellen Ingeborg Hætta (Administrative Coordinator, UiT), Richard Hall (Board member, Statoil), Jan Petter Pedersen (Board member, KSAT), Kjell Arild Høgda (Norut), Morten Hald (Chair of Board, UiT), Stian Anfinsen (Head of Department, UiT), Camilla Brekke (WP leader, UiT), Johannes Lohse (PhD student, UiT), Marit Helgesen (UiT). This made a good opportunity to present and discuss CIRFA with representatives from RCN, and get feedback. The visit is summarized in the report “SFI CIRFA: Oppsummering fra Forskningsrådets “site visit” torsdag 23. mars 2017”, by Liv Jorunn Jenssen (see internal website). In short, RCN concluded: ”The Research Council’s impression is that SFI CIRFA is a well managed centre with a solid scientific and administrative leadership. The centre has started well with their work and there is a large activity within the centre”.


CIRFA has extended the staff. Thomas Kræmer has been employed as IT Engineer, and will be giving support to all the Work Packages on IT-related issues. He is in particular involved in the work in WP7. Marianne Myrnes has been employed as PhD in WP3, and Rolf Ole Rydeng Jenssen as PhD in WP4. Ann Kristin Sperrevik will start as Postdoc in WP5 in July. She will be employed at A new PhD position related on Oil-in-Fjord Ice related to WP4 has been announced. CIRFA has now two active announcements: for a PhD in WP4 (replacement of Alberto Arienzo, who has quitted) and for a tenure track position as associate professor. The latter is not connected to any particular WP, but will be a resource for all.

CIRFA will start up 6 new master-projects next semester.


Field work:

CIRFA has been discussing the possibilities of organizing a specific integrated remote sensing field experiment, in which the objective would be to demonstrate the added value of combined information output from the various work packages. In order to go ahead with this idea, we need partners, and in relation to this we have had discussions with Kystverket, Sysselmannen på Svalbard, and NOFO on collaboration and partnership. We have not yet concluded on how and when this experiment should be done, but we can say that there is in general interest to collaborate with us on this. This idea will be further developed.

In the time period March 10th to April 5th CIRFA conducted an extensive oil-in-ice experiment, together with MOSIDEO, a Petromax-2 project lead by Christian Petrich at Norut Narvik, in the HSVA tank in Hamburg. During the experiment, remote sensing of clean and oil contaminated sea ice was done by radars and optical sensors, and detailed coring of the ice was done through-out the whole experiment. The radar remote sensing included measurements with a tomographic radar system, and profiling with a broad-band GPR.  The preliminary analysis reveals that due to a humid salty upper surface, the radar waves in C- and X-band did not penetrate the ice medium, and the tomographic part seems to have been unsuccessful. However, the experiment collected large amounts of data that will allow for detailed studies of surface scattering from sea ice, with and without oil, in monostatic and bi-static radar configurations, which, combined with the in-situ measurements, provides a unique data set for scattering studies. The data collected will be further analysed in 3 PhD projects in CIRFA.

In the time period April 24th to May 8th, CIRFA-researchers at Norut and NPI were conducting RPAS and combined RPAS-satellite studies in Kongsfjorden, Ny-Ålesund.  Norut tested an on-board real-time processing system for tracking icebergs on the Cryowing Scout RPAS. NPI did some combined in-situ, RPAS and, satellite studies for Fjord sea ice monitoring.

In the time period May 16th to May 30th CIRFA was host of the first part of a 3-year INTPART summer school series called “Arctic Field Summer Schools”. This is separately funded by the Research Council of Norway (NFR) and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), under the program International partnerships for excellent education and research (INTPART), grant agreement number 261786/H30. Associate professor A. Doulgeris is project leader. The course was divided in two tightly related events, starting with a one-week field course on board R/V Lance to the marginal ice zone (MIZ) in and around Svalbard, where the participating students from Norway (CIRFA), USA, and Canada received introductory lectures and collected in-situ and remote sensing data to be analysed in the subsequent session. The second week took place at CIRFA, and included lectures and lab-work. Next year a follow-up summer school will be organized from Barrow, Alaska.

CIRFA was also participating as observer at the BASEC experiment close to the ice edge in the middle of March.


CIRFA has been regularly invited to give presentations at seminars and workshops.

We participated in the Peter F. Hjort Seminar on March 17th in a session called “Næringsmuligheter i havet”.  The seminar focuses on development and innovations in North-Norway, and is organized by UiT the Arctic University of Norway.

We gave a presentation at “Næringslivsdagene” in Narvik on March 21st , which is organized by UiT the Arctic University of Norway during the Winter Festival Week.

Camila Brekke gave a presentation of CIRFA’s WP3 at “Beredskapsforum”, a conference organized by Miljødirektorate/Kystverket in Oslo on April 4th , and we (Ellen and Torbjørn) presented CIRFA (and ARCEx) at a stand during OTC in Houston, Texas in May.


The research in CIRFA is regularly being communicated as scientific publications in journals and at conferences, and our list of published papers is steadily getting longer. Many of our PhD students are currently writing up their first manuscripts. This July CIRFA members will have 6 oral and 1 poster presentations at IGARSS 2017 Forth Worth, Texas. For more  details, we refer to the CIRFA web-page.

Future events:

Together with associated PhDs and Postdocs in the EO Group at UiT, CIRFA will organize a Young Scientist Forum on September 5th to 7th. This will start with a 1-day course on “Proposal writing”, followed by a 2-days scientific workshop at Malangen Resort, with internal and external presentations.

On September 11th and 12th, CIRFA is planning a joint 2-days lunch-to-lunch workshop with SIRIUS, an SFI hosted by University of Oslo, to discuss collaboration on WP7 related research questions.

We are looking forward to see you all at Sommarøy on October 18th and 19th for this year’s CIRFA conference.

Have a nice summer!!


Best regards,

Ellen and Torbjørn