Stefan Muckenhuber defends his PhD thesis

Stefan Muckenhuber will defend the thesis for his PhD degree 06.12.2017 at University of Bergen and

The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The title of the thesis is “High resolution sea ice monitoring using space

borne Synthetic Aperture Radar”. Stefan has been employed at the Nansen Center since 2013 and has had a

PhD scholarship from the Research Council of Norway for the last three years. In 2017 he has received a visiting

research grant and stayed at Technical University of Vienna. 

 

Stefan deploys a GPS buoye. FOTO: Håkon Kjøllmoen

Stefan deploys a GPS transmitter for tracking ice drift in the Fram Strait. FOTO: Håkon Kjøllmoen

 

Observing sea ice from space

Sea ice is one the most prominent indicators for climate change in the Arctic. Updated knowledge about sea ice

conditions is important for shipping and offshore industry, local communities and others. Due to its

remote location and strong variability in extent and motion, satellite observations are among the

most important data sources for sea ice monitoring.

 

In the framework of this thesis, the author developed and applied methods for deriving high

resolution sea ice information using images from space borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a

sensor that operates independent of solar illumination and cloud conditions.

Combining an efficient processing chain with manual interpretations, the author established a time

series of sea ice cover for two fjords in Svalbard, revealing a significant reduction of sea ice when

comparing the time period 2000-2005 and 2006-2014.

 

To support national ice charting services, an algorithm was developed to distinguish sea ice from

open water on SAR images and daily ice charts were distributed between January 2013 and October

2015.

 

To derive sea ice motion from consecutive SAR images, two algorithms based on feature-tracking

and pattern-matching have been developed and resulting vector fields have been compared to GPS

data from ice buoys. To ensure free implementation and easy distribution, the sea ice drift

algorithms are distributed as open-source software.

 

The PhD-program, “Ice motion”, was founded through The Research Council of Norway (NFR).

Supervisor for Stefan was Stein Sandven (NERSC/UNIS) and Frank Nilsen (UNIS)

 

Personalia

Stefan Muckenhuber was born in 1988 in Austria. He completed his master's degree in Physics in

2013 at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz and wrote his master thesis at the University Centre in

Svalbard. Since 2013, he is employed at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center and

spent most of his time at the University Centre in Svalbard.

 

Time and place of trial lecture

05.12.2017, 10:15, The University Centre in Svalbard, N-9171, Longyearbyen.

 

Time and place for dissertation

06.12.2017, 09:15, The University Centre in Svalbard, N-9171, Longyearbyen.

 

Stefan desployes a GPS buoye. FOTO: Håkon Kjøllmoen

Stefan deploys a GPS transmitter for tracking ice drift in the Fram Strait. FOTO: Håkon Kjøllmoen