Research Group "Remote Sensing of Polar Regions"

Remote sensing from satellites is the tool of choice to collect comprehensively information about the vast areas of the Arctic and Antarctic. Within this working group we develop new methods to better observe the Earth surface and atmosphere in polar regions from space. Satellite data allows us to monitor the changes and variability of the derived geophysical quantities, like sea ice area or atmospheric water vapor, in both space and over longer time scales. As final objective, this data is used to better understand climate process in polar regions and beyond.

The working group for Remote Sensing of Polar Regions is led by Dr. Gunnar Spreen and part of the "Remote Sensing" department lead by Prof. Justus Notholt at the Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen. We have longstanding experience in deriving sea ice area, type and thickness as well as atmospheric water vapor from passive microwave radiometers like AMSR-E/2, AMSU, SMAP, and SMOS. During recent years, remote sensing of, e.g., melt ponds on sea ice, from optical sensors like MERIS, MODIS, VIIRS, and OLCI on Sentinel-3 got more attention.

Further research topics cover high resolution sea ice concentration retrievals, deriving sea ice lead fraction from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data in combination with altimetry, or to estimate snow depth on sea ice from passive microwave radiometers. All satellite datasets are evaluated in combination with extensive in-situ and airborne data like from the MOSAiC expedition.

Satellite measurements are made available via this website, and, where more in-depth information and information for the general public are published in cooperation with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute.

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