UCL-> Earth Sciences -> Polar Science Group -> About

UCL's Polar Science Group is a founding member of the UK's NERC Center for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM). CPOM, which is now part of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), originated at UCL in 2000 and comprises leading polar science groups from the universities of Leeds, Reading, Bristol, Lancaster, Swansea, Exeter and UCL, collaborating on UK national programmes of polar science research.

Scientists from UCL's Polar Science Group currently also lead a number of major international cryosphere research projects from the European Space Agency (ESA) and other agencies.

CryoSat-2, a UCL proposed mission, was launched in 2010 (image: esa)

Validating measurements on the ice with the UCL radar (image: R.Tilling)

Our group is at the interface between remote sensing, field and laboratory work and climate modelling. We build on our pioneering work on satellite altimetry of the polar regions with the launch in 2010 of CryoSat-2 to develop a wide suit of remote sensing techniques to investigate changes in the cryosphere and polar oceans. We have developed several sea ice model parameterizations that have now been incorporated in a variety of Global Circulation Models (i.e. Met Office) and assimilate our satellite observation into operational forecasting systems. We are leading regular field work campaigns (i.e. MOSAiC Arctic expedition) and develop new instruments to probe in-situ characteristics of the snow and sea ice and validate models and satellite data. Finally, we are performing laboratory experiments in polar conditions in our cold room facility in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Latest Group News


First paper by CPOM-UCL PhD student Carmen Nab, on Synoptic variability in satellite altimeter-derived radar freeboard of Arctic sea ice was published today in GRL.


A new paper, lead by CPOM-UCL PhD student Thomas Johnson, on measuring sea ice surface roughness from MISR data was published today. Find links to the data and the paper here.


An important new study was published in Nature by J.Landy et al (including M.Tsamados, J.Stroeve from UCL) : A year-round satellite sea-ice thickness record from CryoSat-2

Checkout the BBC News story on how for the first time we can measure sea ice thickness during the Arctic summer months.

Image credit: AWI/Hendicks


Polar Science Group awarded new RCiF Funding to enhance group EO Data Server/Storage capabilities.

See all News stories...

Released: Jan 2024 -> Access Data  /  

Under-ice PAR Data

This dataset contains daily under-ice estimates of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR)

Released: Jan 2023 -> Access Data  /  Access Code

Daily-resolution pan-Arctic Radar and Laser Freeboard

This dataset contains daily-resolution pan-Arctic laser / radar freeboard and uncertainty estimates, created following the methodology outlined in Nab et al. (2023): "Synoptic variability in satellite altimeter-derived radar freeboard of Arctic sea ice"

Released: Dec 2022 -> Access Data

MISR Arctic Sea Ice Roughness (2000-2020)

Swath and monthly gridded products available.

See all UCL Cryosphere Data Products...

CPOM Tweets

Upcoming Events

CPOM Cryochat Series

Internal - Occurs once very two weeks (diary invites circulated)

Include completed events...