Newsletter October 2016



Tromsø 14.10.2016

Dear Colleagues,

Since the last Newsletter, CIRFA has arranged its first Annual Conference. On September 13th & 14th, about 60 participants from CIRFA partners, and collaborating organizations, were gathered at Sommarøy Arctic Hotel to discuss research issues, come up with ideas for innovation projects, and to socialize in the calm and scenic environment, which the site is famous for. During the first day of the conference the whole spectrum of research questions already addressed by CIRFA were nicely communicated to the audience by work package leaders, PhD students and postdocs. This conference also was an opportunity for us to get to know the members of CIRFA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB), and to present CIRFA to them, as all members of the board were able to join the meeting. We consider the interaction with SAB to be crucial to ensure high quality in research. The SAB has already given important feedback and input to our strategic planning.

The feedbacks from participants on the conference have all been positive. Everybody seems to have enjoyed the meeting. We plan to have this conference annually, approximately at the same time of the year.

Scientific results: CIRFA can already announce significant scientific achievements. Based on the data collection made during NORSE 2015 (i.e. NOFO’s Oil-on-Water experiment), researchers from, JPL and UiT, have authored a paper, which combines remote sensing (RS) and modeling. The paper, which is in publication, presents interesting observations of the time-development of oil spills, and demonstrates how the tuning of the drift models based on RS observations really improves the modeling. This paper shows the value of the RS component in NOFO’s oil release experiment, and in particular how an excellent planning of all data collections (satellites and in-situ) is necessary for advancing the oil-monitoring capability. (Ref.: No.2 in publication list).

Experiments: CIRFA has been involved in several field experiments this year, in collaboration with other projects. This quarter (Q3), we participated in the Fram Strait Campaign, organized by NPI, as already mentioned in the previous Newsletter. We have collected many interesting data sets, which will be analyzed by PhD students and scientists in WP2 and WP3. This year, we also collected Tandem X (TDX) data, collocated in time and space with other data. These are bi-static synthetic aperture radar data, which has previously been shown to carry information of sea ice surface topography. If the imaging conditions allow for it, the topographic mapping potential of TDX data will be further investigated using the data acquired in the Fram Strait. Our data sets contain two instances of overlap between TDX and in-situ measurements with the EM-bird surface roughness measurements.

Conferences and outreach: Q3 is conference season. CIRFA has had participation in two conferences with oral and poster presentations. We were at IGARSS, Beijing, in July, and SPIE Remote Sensing, Edinburgh, in August.

Other outreach activities include oral presentations in Technical Session 7 at ONS 2016 in Stavanger, and in a breakout session on Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik. (See publication list below).

Exchange: In August and September CIRFA was hosting an IAESTE student exchange. Master student, Jeroen Van Houtte, from Belgium, spent seven weeks at CIRFA, working with Anthony Doulgeris on correcting some imaging artifacts in Sentinel1 Wide Swath images to improve sea ice classification.

We have also hosted Cathleen Jones, from JPL, for three weeks. Jones is affiliated to CIRFA as Adjunct Professor.

Hiring: CIRFA will in the near future announce a new PhD position, who will be allocated to WP3, and working with data acquired in the upcoming oil-in-ice experiment to take place in HSVA, Hamburg, in March 2017. We will also soon announce another PhD, who will be connected to WP4. Both these PhD positions are in-kind contribution to CIRFA from UiT-the Arctic University of Norway.

The applicants for the announced IT engineer have been evaluated, and the hiring process has been initiated. Of the 8 applicants, 2 candidates are listed as qualified. Hopefully, the position will be in work from January 2017.


With these brief up-dates, have a nice weekend, and best regards,

Torbjørn Eltoft & Ellen Ingeborg Hætta


For a full list, visit

  1. Hollands, T., Dierking, W.(2016): Dynamics of the Terra Nova Bay Polynya: The potential of multi-sensor satellite observations. Remote Sensing of Environment 187 (2016) 30–48. Full text (open access).
  2. Jones, C., K.-F. Dagestad, Ø. Breivik, B. Holt, J. Röhrs, K. Christensen, M. Espeseth, C. Brekke and S. Skrunes (2016): Measurement and Modeling of Oil Slick Transport, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans. DOI 10.1002/2016JC012113. AbstractFull text(restricted access).
  3. Marino, A. , Dierking, W. and Wesche, C.(2016): A Depolarization Ratio Anomaly Detector to Identify Icebergs in Sea Ice Using Dual-Polarization SAR Images, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 54 (9), pp. 5602-5615 . doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2016.2569450. AbstractFull text (restricted access).
  4. Yitayew, T.G., Ferro-Famil, L., Eltoft, T., Tebaldini, S. (2016) Tomographic Imaging of Fjord Ice Using a Very High Resolution Ground-based SAR System. Accepted by IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (TGARS). Abstract.
  5. Eltoft, T., C. Brekke, H. Johnsen, R. Storvold, S. Gerland, W. Dierking, J. P. Pedersen(2016): CIRFA – Centre for Integrated Remote Sensing and Forecasting for Arctic Operations, a new Centre for Research-based innovation hosted by UiT-the Arctic University of Norway. White paper. Arctic Observing Summit 2016, Fairbanks, AK, USA, March 2016. 7 pages. Full text(open access).
  6.  Dierking, W. and 22 coauthors(2016): Selected European Studies On Sea Ice Classification And Drift Retrieval As Basis For Collaborative Projects During Dragon 4, Dragon 3 Final Results & Dragon 4 Kick-Off Symposium, Wuhan, China, 4 July 2016 – 8 July 2016. Presentation (restricted access).
  7. Johnsen, H., Nilsen, V., Engen, G., Mouche, A., Collard, F.(2016): Ocean Doppler Anomaly and Ocean Surface Current from Sentinel 1 Tops Mode.Paper and talk (#2972). IGARSS Beijing, China, 10-15 July 2016. Full text (restricted access). Presentation (restricted access)-
  8. Vahid, A. (2016): Subaperture Analysis of Polarimetric SAR Data for Iceberg Detection. Full text(restricted access).
  9. Jones, C.E., Espeseth, M.M., Holt, B.M., Brekke, C. Skrunes, S. (2016). Characterization and discrimination of evolving mineral and plant oil slicks based on L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR).
  10. Espeseth, M.M., Skrunes, S., Brekke, C., Salberg, A.-B., Jones, C.E., Holt, B.M.  (2016):Oil spill characterization in the hybrid-polarity SAR domain using logcumulants.
  11. Eltoft,  T (2016): Integrated Remote Sensing: A Key Technology in Arctic Industrial Operations.Technical Session 7, ONS 2016, Stavanger.
  12. Eltoft, T. (2016): Integrated Remote Sensing in Arctic operational services. Break out session: Maritime Arctic Services, Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik.
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