This study, “Improving observations and understanding of snow on Arctic sea ice”, is carried out by the Centre of Polar Observation and Modelling at the University College London (CPOM UCL), York University (YU), the Finish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and isardSAT Poland , in response to Theme 1. The planned work will fulfill the aim of exploring, developing and validating different approaches to retrieve snow thickness over sea ice; to develop a new prototype processor; and to produce and validate an experimental dataset of snow thickness over the Arctic. By exploiting ESA data in synergy with additional datasets, this study will deliver important new scientific results while establishing a solid scientific basis for the development of novel retrieval methods and prototype products, thus reinforcing the scientific component of the ESA Living Planet program.


The project is divided into 5 phases:

  1. The first phase “Scientific Requirements Consolidation” WP1, Lead by YO with contributions from UCL. It lasts for 3 months and ends with Requirements Baseline Document and Project Meeting 1 (PM1).
  2. The second phase (WP2)Dataset Collection” is lead by isardSAT with contributions from UCL, YO and FMI. The phase starts at K0+1 and takes 3 months ending in January 2017 with Dataset User Manual v.1 and datasets made available on the project website or servers.
  3. The third phase “Development and Validation of Methods” takes 9 months and is lead by UCL with contributions from isardSAT and FMI. It is the main and longest phase that starts at K0+3 (January 2017) and ends in K0+12 (September 2017 is further divided into three sub-phases:


  • Dual-Altimeter Snow Thickness (DuST) Algorithm: Development and Validation of Methods (WP3.1) lasts for 5 months from K0+3-K0+8 (January 2017-June 2017)
  • SNOw on Drifting Sea Ice (SnoDSI) Algorithm: Development and Validation of Methods (WP3.2) lasts for 5 months from K0+3-K0+8 (January 2017-June 2017)
  • Inter-comparison, validation and uncertainty estimation (T3.3,T3.4) lasts for 6 months from K0+7-K0+12 (April 2017- September 2017).The 3rd phase finish at Project Meeting 2 (PM2) with two deliverables: Algorithm Theoretical Baseline Document (ATBD) and Validation Report (VR).


  1. The fourth phase “Prototype Demonstration and Impact Assessment” is lead by FMI, with contributors from UCL and YU. It takes 4 months between K0+13 and K0+16 (October 2017-January 2018) ending at Project Meeting 3 (PM3) with three deliverables: Experimental dataset, Data User Manual v2, Impact Assessment Report (IAR).
  2. The last phase “Scientific Roadmap” takes only 1 month from K0+17-K018 (March-April 2018) ending with Scientific Roadmap document at Final Review.


The main activities of the project are structured in 6 main work packages:

  Work Package Led By Starts Ends
WP1 Scientific Requirements Consolidation YO, contributors:UCL




(T0 +3)

WP2 Dataset Collection isardSAT (contributions from all consortium)




(T0 +8)


WP3 Novel Algorithm Development and Validation UCL






WP4 Prototype demonstration and impact assessment FMI





WP5 Scientific Roadmap YO



04/2018 (T0+18)
WP6 Project Management isardSAT (administrative) and UCL (science leader)




(T0 +18)