ICEFLOW - Short-term movements in the Cryosphere

The cryosphere is changing at a rapid pace, and at the same time Earth observation is revolutionized through lower thresholds for space access. Consequently, it is only recently that constellations and fleets of Earth observation platforms sense the cryosphere with both very high spatial and temporal resolution. The aim of the ICEFLOWproject is to highlight the potential of Earth observation to monitor movements in the Cryosphere.

Figure 1: The a glacier surge from Vavilov ice cap advances into the sea and breaks the melting sea-ice (Severnaya Zemlya), the image is taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite. Image: Project team

Figure 1: The a glacier surge from Vavilov ice cap advances into the sea and breaks the melting sea-ice (Severnaya Zemlya), the image is taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite. Image: Project team

About the project

Earth observation plays an important role in society and business, today, and more so in the near future. Several times a day, satellite systems acquire data over targeted areas or with global coverage, which will only increase in the future. Imagery for velocity products will be acquired through spaceborne SAR (ICEye) or optical (Earth-i, Urthecast, Planet) instruments. Hence, demonstrating use cases with such data sparks innovation, and shows opportunities that inspire. For the case of the Cryosphere, where change occurs rapidly, we will explore and exploit real-time remote sensing.

Velocity information is a new dimension for such datasets, enlarging the product portfolio. The methods shown here are transferable, and ready for the new era of Earth observation, where business activity from space will become an essential asset in this global economy. Such processes might not be grasped alone with (pixel-wise) change detection.

Figure 2: River ice floats on the Lena river, image taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite. Image: Project team

Objectives

Our level of individual process understanding of Cryospheric components is at a high level. But many dynamic changes that occur in the Arctic are due to interactions between these components and in combination with specific environmental conditions. This results in complex behaviour, which is difficult to assess, especially when detailed information is lacking. For these cases velocity products can be used to advance our knowledge within several disciplines within the Earth sciences.

Project ICEFLOW will establish velocity fields as a reliable product and seize opportunities for cryospheric research and applications. This will be done by:

  • Advance from fragmented velocity snapshot to coherent, large scale glacier velocity time-series.
  • Bringing new insights on ice-berg drift and fjord ice interaction
  • Becoming resilient to ice-jam flooding through integration of remote sensing into hydrological modelling

Background

This ICEFLOW project follows on to the advances made within the ICEMASS project; Department of Geosciences.

The project period for ICEFLOW is from 2018 to 2020.

Financing

Project financing from European Space Agency (ESA) is acknowledged, as an ESA Living Planet Fellowship grant.

ESA project number; TBC.

Published Oct. 16, 2018 3:35 PM - Last modified Oct. 16, 2018 3:35 PM