Polar Observations


The Polar Earth Observation group at the University of Leeds uses satellite Earth observation data to improve our understanding of ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Loss of ice from polar latitudes can affect the Earths albedo, polar atmosphere and ocean circulation, and directly contributes to global sea level rise.

Satellite data has revolutionised our ability to observe change in these remote and inhospitable regions, and our data records are now long enough to enable us to study the physical mechanisms responsible for driving these changes. We work closely with our national and international space agencies, and colleagues in UK and international research institutions, such as the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), National Oceanography Centre (NOC), National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) and European Space Agency (ESA).

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Research interests

Our primary field of interest is using satellite data to observe the polar regions, particularly Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and radar altimetry. We track visible features such as crevasses to measure how fast glaciers flow, we use interferometry to measure tidally induced flexure if ice shelves at the ice sheet grounding line, and we use altimetry data to measure sea ice thickness and land ice thickness change. 

Satellites used by the group include ESA’s CryoSat-2, Sentinel-1, ERS-1 & 2, ENVISAT, and Sentinel-3. 

In addition to our satellite based research, we also conduct fieldwork on the Antarcitc and Greenland Ice Sheets, and Arctic Sea ice.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact the Research Group. Our members include: Professor Anna E. Hogg,  Dr Debbie Rosen, Thomas Slater, Adriano Lemos, Ines Otosaka, Heather Selley.