The overall objective of the MAIRES project is to develop methodologies for satellite monitoring of Arctic glaciers, sea ice and icebergs. Methodologies to retrieve quantitative information from the ESA and RKA data will be developed, and examples of satellite derived products for each of the three thematic areas will be presented. The main satellite data will be Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), optical and infrared images, lidar and radar altimeter data, passive microwave data and gravity field data from GOCE. Results from the proposal can contribute to improved understanding of climate change and provide useful data for scientists, policy-makers and the general public. The MAIRES project will demonstrate the benefits of combining Earth Observation data from European and Russian satellites for operational mapping, interpretation and forecast of land and sea ice variations, both seasonal and inter-annual, with subsequent applications in the socioeconomic sector. The results of the project will contribute to improved understanding of changes in land and sea ice in response to climate change in the Eurasian Arctic. They will be disseminated to user groups including climate research and operational users. The project will establish cooperation between ongoing GMES projects related to the cryosphere and Russian scientists, users and stakeholders.

The specific objectives of MAIRES are the following:

  • to establish cooperation between ongoing GMES projects and Russian actors in the area of Arctic ice observation from space;
  • to develop a method for precise overall modelling of glacier elevation changes by use of differential interferometry and altimetry data;
  • to test and validate sea ice classification methods using new high-resolution SAR images with dual polarization, combined with use of Russian high-resolution optical images;
  • to develop iceberg detection methods using a combination of high-resolution SAR and optical images;
  • to document inter-annual and decadal changes in land and sea ice variables based on the EO-products developed in the project;
  • to disseminate EO-based products for/of monitoring land and sea ice to users and stakeholders.

To achieve these objectives, a number of satellite-based products based on joint use of European and Russian data will be presented. The total workload is broken down into 8 work packages as shown in the figure below. The MAIRES work is planned so that all activities and relevant technical tasks within each WP are carried out jointly by several partners and are coordinated by a WP leader (specified in brackets).

Work package overview
Work package overview

Main RTD tasks of work packages were formulated as follows (DoW, Final version 21.03.2011):

WP 1 - to define user requirements and case studies for satellite data analysis in Arctic ice areas.
WP 2 - to compile joint EU-Russian EO data sets for the Arctic ice from ESA, Roscosmos and other data providers to be used in the project.
WP 3 - to develop satellite data methods for analysis of land ice in the Eurasian Arctic and to prepare satellite-based products for monitoring services.
WP 4 - to design satellite data methods for analysis of sea ice in the Arctic and to prepare satellite-based products for monitoring services.
WP 5 - to develop satellite data methods for analysis of icebergs in the Barents and Kara seas and to prepare iceberg atlas from satellite images.
WP 6 - to synthesize and integrate satellite derived ice products; to analyse inter-annual and decadal variability from the EO-derived products and to make the results available on-line.
WP 7 - to promote and to disseminate project results to users and stakeholders.