IceSense – Remote Sensing of the Seasonal Evolution of Climate-relevant Sea Ice Properties

Better understanding and prediction of Arctic climate change urgently require more detailed process studies and improved satellite observations. MOSAiC offers the unique opportunity to observe and upscale the complete annual cycles of climate relevant sea ice properties like ice concentration and type, ice and snow freeboard, roughness, thickness, and deformation, and melt pond coverage and geometry. Here we process and analyse the extensive and collocated MOSAiC in-situ, airborne, and satellite remote sensing sea ice data sets of those parameters, and improve satellite retrieval algorithms. We will primarily use year-round data from ground-based microwave radiometers and airborne (helicopter and Polar 5/6) laser scanner and visible and infrared camera systems, in conjunction with in-situ ice and snow property measurements. These will be complemented by satellite radiometry and altimetry measurements. Results will be used to place MOSAiC observations into a pan-Arctic spatio-temporal context, to support and collaborate with a multitude of complementary, interdisciplinary MOSAiC projects, and as input for improved remote sensing, modeling and parameterization of climate relevant sea ice properties.

The project partners are the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and the University of Bremen.

IceSense is funded by the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Project meetings

  • 07.06.2021 Kick-Off Meeting (online)
  • 14.01.2022 Progress Meeting (at AWI and hybrid)


  • Krumpen, T., L. von Albedyll, H. F. Goessling, S. Hendricks, B. Juhls, G. Spreen, S. Willmes, H. J. Belter, K. Dethloff, C. Haas, L. Kaleschke, C. Katlein, X. Tian-Kunze, R. Ricker, P. Rostosky, J. Rückert, S. Singha, & J. Sokolova (2021). MOSAiC drift expedition from October 2019 to July 2020: sea ice conditions from space and comparison with previous years. The Cryosphere, 15, 3897–3920. doi:10.5194/tc-15-3897-2021 [Article (PDF file)]
  • Nicolaus, M., D. K. Perovich, G. Spreen, M. A. Granskog, L. von Albedyll, M. Angelopoulos, P. Anhaus, S. Arndt, H. J. Belter, V. Bessonov, G. Birnbaum, J. Brauchle, R. Calmer, E. Cardellach, B. Cheng, D. Clemens-Sewall, R. Dadic, E. Damm, G. de Boer, O. Demir, K. Dethloff, D. V. Divine, A. A. Fong, S. Fons, M. M. Frey, N. Fuchs, C. Gabarró, S. Gerland, H. F. Goessling, R. Gradinger, J. Haapala, C. Haas, J. Hamilton, H.-R. Hannula, S. Hendricks, A. Herber, C. Heuzé, M. Hoppmann, K. V. Høyland, M. Huntemann, J. K. Hutchings, B. Hwang, P. Itkin, H.-W. Jacobi, M. Jaggi, A. Jutila, L. Kaleschke, C. Katlein, N. Kolabutin, D. Krampe, S. S. Kristensen, T. Krumpen, N. Kurtz, A. Lampert, B. A. Lange, R. Lei, B. Light, F. Linhardt, G. E. Liston, B. Loose, A. R. Macfarlane, M. Mahmud, I. O. Matero, S. Maus, A. Morgenstern, R. Naderpour, V. Nandan, A. Niubom, M. Oggier, N. Oppelt, F. Pätzold, C. Perron, T. Petrovsky, R. Pirazzini, C. Polashenski, B. Rabe, I. A. Raphael, J. Regnery, M. Rex, R. Ricker, K. Riemann-Campe, A. Rinke, J. Rohde, E. Salganik, R. K. Scharien, M. Schiller, M. Schneebeli, M. Semmling, E. Shimanchuk, M. D. Shupe, M. M. Smith, V. Smolyanitsky, V. Sokolov, T. Stanton, J. Stroeve, L. Thielke, A. Timofeeva, R. T. Tonboe, A. Tavri, M. Tsamados, D. N. Wagner, D. Watkins, M. Webster, & M. Wendisch (2022). Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice. Elementa Sci. Anth., 10(1), 000046. doi:10.1525/elementa.2021.000046 [Article (PDF file)]


  • Thielke, L., Huntemann, M., Hendricks, S., Jutila, A., Ricker, R., Spreen, G. (2021): Helicopter-borne thermal infrared sea ice surface temperatures during the MOSAiC expedition. PANGAEA,
  • von Albedyll, L., Haas, C., Grodofzig, R. (2021): EM-Bird ice thickness measurements in the Transpolar Drift during MOSAiC 2019/2020, part 1. PANGAEA,