Current projects

Sentinel-3 Validation Team

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Description  Independent validation is a critical aspect of providing credibility to a satellite mission and is a pre-requisite to it being fit for purpose.  The validation is performed by independent and experienced scientists and engineers in specialised disciplines, and provides a reference for the diverse and widespread activities that are expected to occur within the scientific community following the launch of Sentinel-3A.

Partners         ESA, Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL)

CPOM role     Providing expertise in ice sheet altimetry.

Start date       2013

Outcomes      Satellite mission planning and operational disciplines.

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ESA-STSE Antarctic Peninsula Mass Balance (APMB)

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Description    The APMB project will provide an improved estimate of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet mass balance from satellite techniques by increasing the spatial extent and time period that our measurements cover. The project began in 2013 and will run for two years. It is an international collaboration between seven institutions, and is supported by ESA’s Support to Science Element (STSE) program. APMB will deliver important new scientific results which will better our understanding of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level change.

Partners         Dresden University of Technology, ENVEO, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), UCL, Utrecht University, ESA

CPOM role     Providing the science lead, project management and altimetry expertise.

Start date       2013

Outcomes      So far the project has delivered project documents including a Scientific Goals Report, Data Access Requirements Report, Independent Experiment Design Report and Independent Experiment Report.

URL                http://www.stse-apmb.org/

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Glaciers and Ice Caps Climate Change Initiative (CCI)

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Description   The main objective of the Glaciers and Ice Caps CCI is to contribute to the creation of a globally complete and detailed glacier inventory. This activity has two major parts: One is data creation (glacier outlines) in selected and currently still missing key regions, and the other one is in establishing a more consistent framework for glacier entity identification to enhance the integrity and error characterization of the available data sets. As meltwater from glaciers and icecaps provide a substantial contribution to global sea-level rise, the project will also create two additional products in selected key regions, elevation changes and velocity fields.

Partners        Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), ENVEO, University of Oslo, Gamma Remote Sensing

CPOM role     Providing altimetry expertise to derive volume change of ice caps globally.

Start date      2011

Outcomes     The project was renewed for a second phase commencing 2014. So far we have delivered project documents including a User Requirements Document, Data Access and Requirements Document and the Product Specification Document.

URL               http://www.esa-glaciers-cci.org/

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CryoSat Performance Monitoring and QA website

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Description  MSSL monitor CryoSat performance from Level-2 data products provided by the ESA IPF processing centre at Kiruna. Data has been monitored since the start of the operational phase (18-Oct-2010) and this site shows output from all available versions of the IPF processors.

Partners        ESA, MSSL, Telespazio Vega (IDEAS)

CPOM role    Service developed, maintained and managed for ESA to provide scientific & operations support for the Cryosat-2 radar altimeter; performance monitoring; QA for CryoSat SIRAL data processing.

Start date     2010

Outcomes    This is an ongoing ESA project to provide a CryoSat L2 and L2i data quality assurance website for ESA via a fully maintained and up-to-date performance monitoring and QA website. In 2015 we added support for the new ESA Baseline-C products and in 2016 will QA the complete reprocessed Baseline-C data set since start of mission.

URL              http://cryosat.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/qa

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Reprocessing chain for the ERS satellite altimetry dataset (REAPER)

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Description The REAPER product data set is a result of a complete reprocessing of ESA’s 12 year archive of ERS-1 and ERS-2’s Altimetry data.  The website shows the availability of current REAPER L2 GDR files/cycle for any processing baseline.

Partners       ESA, MSSL, isardSAT, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER)

CPOM role   Software engineering involved with the QA and validation of the data, and setup of the REAPER QA website for ESA.

Start date    2010

Outcomes   The REAPER reprocessing chain (REprocessing of Altimeter Products for ERS), a project for ESA, was completed in September 2014 with delivery of the REAPER v1 data set, Product Handbook and QA website.  Major improvements with respect to the previous ESA RA products format (OPR – Ocean Product – and  WAP – Waveform product) were implemented (e.g. the 4 Envisat RA-2 retrackers, RA calibration improvement, new reprocessed Precise Orbit Solution, ECMWF ERA-interim model, NICO09 ionospheric correction until 1998, GIM ionospheric correction up to 2003, new  SSB, etc.).

The assessment of the REAPER data quality versus the ERS OPR and WAP data shows a clear improvement in terms of accuracy over the tandem periods between ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat missions (currently assessed periods).    Work is now in progress for a further reprocessing campaign (REAPER v1.1) which will address some remaining issues such as poor MWR Wet tropospheric correction, out of range PTR corrections, etc.

URL             http://reaper.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/qa

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Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Centre

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Description   As part of the Sentinel-3 mission and in order to ensure the highest quality of products, ESA and EUMETSAT set up the Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Centre. This facility is part of the Payload Data Ground Segment and aims to control the quality of all generated products, from L0 to L2. It is composed of a Coordinating Centre, where the core infrastructure is hosted, which is in charge of the main routine activities (especially the quality control of data) and the overall service management.

Partners        ESA, ACRI-ST, MSSL

CPOM role    Supporting the commissioning and long term performance monitoring of Sentinel-3 radar altimetry data as the designated Expert Support Laboratory (ESL) for land and sea Ice.

Start date      2014

Outcomes     During 2015 we provided Cal/Val plans for the commissioning (Feb 2016 – March 2017) and operational phases (Apr 2017-Apr-2025) of Sentinel-3a and 3b, and developed tools to support the commissioning over land and sea ice.  During 2016 we will perform the commissioning of Sentinel-3a according to the Cal/Val plan.

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Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

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Description   ACE-CRC aims to provide public and private sector decisionmakers with improved information to guide informed policy decisions on sea level rise mitigation and adaptation.  To achieve this, researchers are working to understand how the Antarctic ice sheet is likely to respond to a warming ocean, and which regions face the greatest risk of increased ice discharge.  The project employs a wide variety of methodologies from field surveys of the Antarctic ice sheet to computer modelling of complex ocean-ice sheet interactions.  The scientific insights gained through this research are helping to improve the accuracy of ice-sheet computer models, and provide more reliable projections of future sea level.

Partner          Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE-CRC)

CPOM role    Scientific input to the Antarctic Ice Sheet workstream.

Start date     2013

Outcomes    tbc

URL              http://acecrc.org.au/project/ocean-forced-evolution-of-the-antarctic-ice-sheet/

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Antarctic Climate Change Initiative (CCI)

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Description   The Antarctic CCI aims to produce long term and reliable climate satellite data records required by the scientific user community. These datasets will improve understanding of present day change on the Antarctic Ice Sheet and provide data for models at a higher spatial and temporal resolution than is currently available, thereby improving estimates of future change.

Partners         ESA, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), MSSL, ENVEO, University of Dresden, Technical University of Munich, BAS, DTU, Science and Technology Norway

CPOM role     Scientific lead and principal investigator. The project will produce, validate and deliver surface elevation change, ice velocity, grounding line and gravimetry mass balance data sets derived from satellite observations, to the scientific community. As well as directing the overall science strategy and publication outputs from the project, CPOM is lead science team responsible for the surface elevation change EO data product, which the UCL MSSL team also contribute to. In addition to this we are responsible for coordinating Task 1 which includes defining the requirements baseline, the input EO data set availability and output product specification, and Task 5 where we work with a group of independent ice sheet modellers and climate experts to assess and report on the quality of the satellite products developed each year.

Start date       2015

Outcomes      Requirements baseline document following an open consultation of the scientific community via a questionnaire advertised on cryolist, and dataset access and product specification manual (all available on the project website); algorithm theoretical baseline and error characterization document for all 4 EO science products to ESA (currently waiting on approval of these before they are uploaded to the public website). We are working on completing the 3 systems documents and generating the Year 1 data sets for all 4 products which should all be delivered and independently assessed by April 2016.

URL                http://www.esa-icesheets-antarctica-cci.org/

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Greenland Ice Sheet Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Phase 2

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Description   This CCI aims to maximize the impact of ESA satellite data on climate research, by analysing data from missions such as ERS, Envisat, CryoSat, GRACE and the new Sentinels.  The project will produce data products on surface elevation change, ice velocity, calving front location, grounding line location and gravimetry mass balance, all of which are important in characterising the Greenland Ice Sheet as an Essential Climate Variable.  The CCI data will be supplemented with partner agency data from missions such as Landsat and ICESat in order to provide consistent, long term time series of these five parameters. Together with melt extent data from satellite microwave observations, the CCI Greenland Ice Sheet data sets will improve the monitoring of the most rapidly changing ice sheet on the planet.

Partners         DTU-S, ENVEO, ESA, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), University of Copenhagen, Science and Technology Norway, University of Dresden, Norwegian Polar Institute

CPOM role     Contribution to the surface elevation change product algorithm development and product development.

Start date       2015

Outcomes      Updating of all Phase 2 Year 1 documentation.

URL                http://www.esa-icesheets-greenland-cci.org/

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Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-Comparison Exercise

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Description   IMBIE seeks to provide continued assessments of ice sheet mass balance using all available satellite techniques at regular intervals. This will ensure that, following the initial exercise which reported in 2012, an up-to-date and accurate record of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance is maintained. Data from current and future satellite missions, for example CryoSat-2, and updates to existing methodologies and ancillary datasets, will  lead to improved estimates of ice sheet mass balance.  The exercise will be open to participation by the entire scientific community.

Partners        The previous assessment involved more than 40 partners from 26 separate institutions based in 7 different countries, including BAS, NASA and UCLA.  It is likely that the next project will be even more extensive.

CPOM role    Co-leadership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Expertise in radar altimetry.

Start date      2016

Outcomes     tbc

URL               http://imbie.org/

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CryoSat Follow-on SAR Trade-off

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Description

Partners        ESA

CPOM role

Start date     2015

Outcomes

URL

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SEOM SPICE

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Description

Partners         ESA

CPOM role

Start date      2015

Outcomes

URL

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iSTAR (NERC Ice Sheet Stability Programme)

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Description   iSTAR is a suite of four research projects aiming to establish the causes of rapid ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet to enable more accurate predictions of future sea level rise.  CPOM is involved in iSTAR-C and iSTAR-D, which are investigating the Pine Island, Thwaites and Union Glaciers.  iSTAR-C (Dynamic Ice) aims to understand the processes that are responsible for transmitting the effect of thinning of the Pine Island Glacier’s floating ice shelf upstream; iSTAR-D is capturing ice-based measurements of the Amundsen sector ice streams that will help to reconstruct missing data missing from historic satellite records, providing a more comprehensive picture of mass ice loss.

Partners        BAS, NERC, NOC, UCL, Universities of East Anglia (UEA), St Andrews, Southampton, Washington, Cambridge, Newcastle, Bristol, Edinburgh, Durham, Reading

CPOM role    Expertise in satellite altimetry, interferometry, land ice modelling and ice velocity.  Leadership of iSTAR D.

Start date      

Outcomes

URL               http://www.istar.ac.uk/

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