Data fusion of 20 years of polar remote sensing data: emerging climate trends?

Theme: Earth, Atmosphere & Ocean Processes

Primary Supervisor:

Michel Tsamados

, UCL

Secondary Supervisor:

Julienne Stroeve

, UCL

Project Description:

The UK has lead the polar remote sensing field for over four decades. The Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at UCL has been at the forefront of this research (i.e. leading the European Space Agency’s (ESA) polar mission CryoSat-2) over the last two decades. The unparalleled success of the SAR CryoSat-2 radar altimeter mission in delivering the most accurate to date picture of the sea ice thickness and polar ocean dynamic topography over the last eight years has revolutionised the way we understand the polar regions. In the Arctic this means that we now understand by how much the total volume of ice has diminished and what impact this has had on the underlying ‘previously dormant’ Arctic Ocean.

In this study we will use modern mathematical and computational tools – the primary supervisor is the climate and environment working group leader at the Alan Turing Institute and the co-supervisor has extensive expertise with big data manipulation – to perform data fusion in time and space of the wide range of satellite, airborne and in-situ data collected in the polar over the past (at least) two decades to build a statistically robust picture of the trends in the key climate variables: 1) the total sea ice volume (a quantity of more climatic relevance than the more commonly used extent) and 2) the high latitudes ocean dynamic topography (and the associated ocean geostrophic currents).

Your role will be to cross-calibrate and refine our current processing of past and present radar and laser altimeter satellite data (as well as alternative remote sensing and in-situ data proxies) from the early 1990s (ERS-1, ERS-2), through the 2000s (ENVISAT, ICESAT), and up to the 2010s (CryoSat-2, AltiKa, Sentinel-3) in order to extend our current time series of these climate variables back and forward in time. These multi-decadal time series will inform our understanding of the dramatic long-term changes that are emerging in the polar regions and their implications for our mid

Policy Impact of Research:

This work is central to the NERC mission to conduct world-class research in the polar sciences with a focus on developing a wider understanding of processes contributing to Arctic and Antarctic change. In addition to the cutting edge science in polar remote sensing this project will have a strong climate policy component as you will inform decision makers of the state of the polar regions based on newly developed regional climate metrics.


Stay informed

Subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.


Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

Pearson Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter