ID:43 Building an observing system in Svalbard and associated waters using remotely sensed observations

24 February 2023 | 14:00 - 15:30 (GMT+1)

Open Session - HYBRID


Room: Hörsaal 2


Session Conveners:  Shridhar Jawak (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS), Norway); William Harcourt (University of St Andrews, United Kingdom); Veijo Pohjola (Uppsala University, Sweden); Ann Mari Fjaeraa (Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Norway)


Session Abstract

Remotely sensed observations from ground, air (aircraft, UAVs), and satellite instruments are an important means of comprehensively understanding processes within the Earth system. This includes understanding processes in the cryosphere (e.g. glaciological processes, icebergs), the atmosphere (e.g. climatology, aerosols), the terrestrial component (e.g. vegetation, hydrology) and the oceans (e.g. sea ice, ocean colour properties, circulation patterns). The development of new remote sensing techniques and data products is vital to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Svalbard observing system and its contribution to answering Earth system science questions. Further, Svalbard is uniquely positioned between the mild (Atlantic) oceanic and harsh Polar conditions, a feature which attracts international researchers seeking to conduct cal/val studies for various space agencies (e.g. ESA).

This session invites contributions from the community that develops and extends remote sensing observations around the Svalbard archipelago. We welcome studies that investigate new remote sensing applications in Svalbard, the development of new sensors/instruments for Svalbard research, cal/val activities, the expansion of existing monitoring networks and long-term measurements of key environmental parameters. The spatial scale of contributions may vary between localised field studies with ground-based instruments to regional monitoring from space-based platforms. Numerical modelling studies are also welcome, particularly if they utilise data sets acquired through the Svalbard observing system. This session will help identify gaps across the existing observational networks which organisations such as the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) will use to improve the monitoring system in the future.



  • unfold_moreThe Polish Polar Consortium and its infrastructure - past, present, future

    Dariusz Ignatiuk
    University of Silesia in Katowice


    The Polish polar research community comprises more than 1000 people employed in almost all the country's universities, a number of polytechnics, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) and certain state research institutions. The scientific interests of the community are represented by the Committee on Polar Research, which was established in 1977 by the Presidium of The Polish Academy of Science. Established in 2012s, The Polish Polar Consortium currently consists of 15 scientific institutions: 10 higher education institutions and 5 research institutes. The mission of the Polish Polar Consortium is to build a framework for effective cooperation of the Polish polar research community in the fields of fundraising for research activities; conducting high-quality scientific projects; development of fieldwork logistics; organizing research expeditions; supporting activities of the Polish polar stations. The Consortium facilitate collaboration in research and science management at an international level. Special emphasis is put on the education and support of Polish polar early career scientists.In previous years, PKPol developed key documents such as the Strategy for Polish Polar Research – a concept for the years 2017-2027 and Polish Snow Research Programme on Svalbard. In 2022, the Consortium co-created the first Polish Polar Policy, which was incorporated into Polish legislation by the ordinance of the Council of Ministers. Currently, PKPol is coordinating the increased integration of the scientific community through the implementation of the CRIOS (Cryosphere Integrated Observatory Network on Svalbard) project in Polish-Norwegian cooperation.

  • unfold_moreSvalbard-Greenland (SVALGREEN) collaboration in a Pan-Arctic perspective

    Heikki Lihavainen1; Shridhar Jawak1; Hanne H. Christiansen2; Peter S. Mikkelsen3; Søren Rysgaard3
    1SIOS-KC; 2University Centre in Svalbard; 3Aarhus University


    The initiated SVALGREEN collaboration aims to facilitate the Svalbard-Greenland collaboration by optimizing the existing research infrastructures and data across the largest climatic gradient in the Arctic, as schematized in the long-term SIOS (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System) and GIOS (Greenland Integrated Observing System) projects. The initiative was launched in a dedicated workshop in October 2022 with an aim to establish the SVALGREEN network consisting of researchers and supporting staff involved in utilizing the entire SVALGREEN gradient, between warm Svalbard and cold Greenland. Until now, large investments have been made in Svalbard and Greenland respectively in SIOS and GIOS projects, and the access to both research infrastructure, observations and data are improved through both projects. However, a coordinated regional initiative extending across the entire gradient from the terrestrial and coastal parts of Eastern and Northern Greenland across the Fram Strait to Svalbard has been lacking. Studies across this gradient are also of global importance for increasing the understanding of Earth System Science in all its spheres. Therefore, establishing a joint regional large-scale research initiative will facilitate process understanding on pan-Arctic scale and thus place Svalbard-Greenland research in a global perspective. In ASSW 2023, we aim to present salient outcomes and present the status of the SVALGREEN initiative to reach out to more scientists and facilitate already established collaboration under the umbrella of SVALGREEN. 

  • unfold_moreSpatial Recognition of ground surface elevation and thermal variability in glaciated and unglaciated catchments in SW Spitsbergen

    Abhishek Bamby Alphonse1; Tomasz Wawrzyniak1; Marzena Osuch1; Nicole Hanselmann1
    1Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences


    New science and new technologies allow us to go further and deeper than ever before. In remote locations such as the Arctic, measurements are challenging. There is a scarcity of detailed spatial studies, which can be resolved using advanced UAV techniques. High resolution data obtained by drones can be used in a broad spectrum of applications, such as to map and estimate geomorphological and hydrological features. These include recently exposed landforms caused by glacier retreat such as moraines, river channels, and slope characteristics etc and their changes caused by permafrost freeze-thaw cycles. In this study, we evaluate a UAV based Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of two high Arctic catchments, Fuglebekken and Ariebekken located on the Spitsbergen Island of the Svalbard archipelago. The measurements were carried out in July and September 2022 with the Matrice 300 RTK drone equipped with a photogrammetric Zenmuse P1 and Zenmuse H20T thermal cameras. A total of 7.81 was covered during the surveys. The DEM was created by the structure-from-motion technique by overlapping images. It has a spatial resolution of 6.43 cm in Fuglebekken and 7.25 cm in Ariebekken. The Matrice 300RTK drone based DEM is compared and correlated with the DEM from SIOS aerial mission conducted in July 2020 and satellite based ArcticDEM. The drone based DEM offers a finer spatial resolution with higher accuracy which can be used in detailed geophysical and geographical studies. Thermal imaging allowed us to create maps of ground thermal conditions in different meteorological settings which can be used for estimating the spatial variability of the permafrost.

    This study was supported by the Polish National Science Centre (grant no. 2020/38/E/ST10/00139).

  • unfold_moreRemote sensing for building a regional observing system in Svalbard

    Shridhar Jawak1; Ann Mari Fjæraa2; William Harcourt3; Sara Aparício4; Bartłomiej Luks5; Veijo Pohjola6
    1SIOS-KC; 2Norwegian Institute for Air Research; 3University of Aberdeen; 4NOVA University Lisbon; 5Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences; 6Uppsala University


    Here, we summarise the remote sensing activities of the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) to build an observing system for sustained measurements in and around Svalbard. SIOS research infrastructures (RIs) are scattered across and around Svalbard for collecting long-term in situ observations useful for calibration/validation (cal/val) of current and future satellite missions e.g. Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) and Sentinel 5 Precursor. Assimilation of in situ and satellite-based measurements is essential for developing a consistent network of observations and filling observational gaps. This study highlights SIOS’s current and planned activities to build an observing system, including (1) capacity building e.g., webinar series, online conference, and training courses on EO and RS studies in Svalbard, (2) infrastructure development that can attract cal/val activities in Svalbard (3) airborne remote sensing campaigns, and (4) remote sensing service tools for field scientists. Ongoing and future activities include (1) the development of the unified platform for satellite data availability for Svalbard, (2) establishing an EO and RS researcher’s forum to facilitate dialogue between field scientists and remote sensing experts, (3) developing a citizen science project model for supporting satellite cal/val activities, (4) ongoing surveys on user requirements, product inventory and citizen science project, and (5) the use of social media for outreach. The sustained efforts by SIOS to develop a long-term monitoring system are expected to support decision-making in Svalbard in the near future.