Tromsø, 17.12.2016


Dear CIRFA-partners, colleagues,  and collaborators,

Time is passing fast. The year 2016 is approaching the end, and it is time to summarize with a brief status report.

2016 was the first full year of operation in CIRFA. The Centre is now well established in new premises in SIVA innovation Centre in Tromsø, and well on its way on its mission.

A brief update at the end of the year: CIRFA has in place an Executive Board consisting of 7 representatives, 4 from industry and 3 from the research partners. The Board had 2 meetings in 2016. The Centre’s  “Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)” is constituted with 4 internationally acknowledged scientists, and the SAB has already had its first meeting, and provided its first recommendations.

CIRFA has so far employed 8 PhD students and 2 Postdocs, fully financed by by the Centre. They are doing their research within CIRFA’s focus areas, i.e. remote sensing of ocean, sea ice, oil spill, iceberg detection, numerical modelling, and drone technologies. Within the next few months, another 3 PhDs will be employed, thus, by the end of 2017, the total number of PhDs will be 12.

The research in CIRFA is to a large extent based on collocated measurements from satellites, drones, and ground-based instruments. In 2015 and 2016 CIRFA has collaborated with several research institutions on acquiring data for the research projects of PhDs and Postdocs. In 2015 this involved the N-ICE (i.e. the freeze-in of Lance, NPI) and NORSE-2015 (NOFO’s oil on water experiment). In 2016, one campaign took place in Ny-Ålesund (collaboration with Norut, Fram Centre, and NTNU (AMOS)) and another took place in the Fram Strait. These experiments collected data for sea ice classification, iceberg detection, and testing of drone technologies.   In addition, some drifters were placed in the Vestfjorden (collaboration with and the Institute of Marine Research), which provide in-situ data related to WP1, ocean remote sensing (see

CIRFA organized its first annual conference at Sommarøy Arctic Hotel in September 2016.  The number of attendants   was very good, with more than 60 participants from 15 countries. More or less all partners were present, and in addition representatives of collaborating institutions and companies were participating. The conference was organized in two sessions. The first day was allocated to science, and here the research within the different work packages were presented by the WP leaders. In addition, the projects of the PhDs and Postdocs were presented as posters. The second day was devoted to innovation, and was organized according to the “World Café” set up, with group discussions, plus a plenum summary. The SAB of CIRFA was present at the conference, and they gave, after the conference, their comments and recommendations to the on-going research and activities.

CIRFA had a successful Technical Committee meeting in Tromsø on December 8th. This was a first meeting in CIRFA with specific focus on the collaboration between user partners and the CIRFA scientific staff. The meeting was organized in two sessions; presentation of CIRFA to new representatives from the user partners, and a discussion of user needs. The discussions gave useful input for the planning of future activities. At the end of the meeting, the Innovation Advisory Board was constituted, with Roald Johansen, Total, as Chair. This Board will be an important instrument in transforming CIRFA’s research into new services and products.

CIRFA was co-organizer of The 3rd Innovation days in Tromsø on January 6. – 7. As the name indicates, the conference focuses on innovation, this year it gathered around 60 participants from all over Norway.

CIRFA scientists have been active at international scientific conferences with oral presentations and posters, and CIRFA has also presented itself at more political/industrial meeting places like Arctic Frontiers (Tromsø), Arctic Circle (Reykjavik), ONS 2016 (Stavanger), and Arctic Circle (Hammerfest).

The first journal papers based on research in CIRFA have already been published. It is noted that the article “Measurements and modelling of oil slick transport” (Jones et al., 2016) got the first page highlight in the October issue of JGR Oceans.

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




Ellen Ingeborg Hætta  and  Torbjørn Eltoft