ESA-CliC Arctic Research Priorities Workshop

The meeting aimed at discussing research priorities with the cryospheric science community and defining the next decade of priorities for Earth Observations within Arctic Research where ESA data may contribute. The meeting was held on 20 January 2015 at the Fram Centre in Tromsø, Norway.  With this meeting ESA and CliC aimed to collect recommendations to:

  • define the main long-term priorities and scientific requirements to guide ESA scientific activities on Arctic research for the time frame 2015-2021 and
  • develop shorter-term recommendations that will  define two potential ESA Support to Science Element projects that will address the major topics of Ice Sheet Mass Balance and 2) Earth Observation for Arctic science.

The final report:

Citation: Baeseman, J and D.Fernandez Prieto Eds. 2015. ESA-CliC Earth Observation and Arctic Science Priorities. Zenodo. 10.5281/zenodo.27538


Time Agenda Item
8:00 – 8:30 Coffee and registration
8:30 – 9:00 Introduction: Welcome and objectives of the meeting
9:00 – 12:30 Session 1: Ice-Sheet Mass Balance
9:00 – 9:20 Way forward after IMBIE: current activities and perspectives [contact speaker for presentation]
—– Andrew Shepherd, University of Leeds, UK
9:20 – 9:40 The Antarctic Peninsula Mass Balance Project [contact speaker for presentation]
—– Kate Briggs, University of Leeds, UK
9:40 – 10:00 CryoSat novel opportunities for mass balance studies: grounding line location and thickness [contact speaker for presentation]
—— Anna Hogg, University of Leeds, UK
10:00 – 10:20 CryoSat novel opportunities for mass balance studies: swath processing capabilities [download presentation]
—– Noel Gourmelen, University of Edinburgh, UK
10:20 – 10:40 Break
10:40 – 11:00 GOCE-GRACE combination: an opportunity to enhance mass balance estimates [download presentation]
—– Johannes Bouman, Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut, Germany
11:00 – 11:20 Enhancing GIA models [download presentation]
—– Jonathan Bamber, University of Bristol, UK
11:20 – 11:40 Opportunities and challenges of the synergistic use of data and techniques [download presentation]
—– René Forsberg, Technical University of Denmark, National Space Institute, Denmark
11:40 – 12:30 Discussion: defining the science needs for the future Ice Sheets Mass Balance studies
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 17:30 Session 2: Towards an ESA-CliC initiative on EO for Arctic Research
13:30 – 13:50 Ocean-Ice interactions: Arctic freshwater balance and impact on global ocean circulation [download presentation]
—– Sheldon Bacon, National Oceanography Centre, UK
13:50 – 14:10 Small ice caps and glacier mass balance [download presentation]
—– Ben Marzeion, Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Innsbruck, Austria
14:10 – 14:30 In situ calibration and validation of sea ice and snow on sea ice satellite products [download presentation]
—– Sebastian Gerland, Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
14:30 – 14:50 Changing permafrost and frozen-ground regimes feedbacks to climate and terrestrial ecosystems (e.g. carbon dioxide and methane fluxes) [download presentation]
—– Annett Bartsch, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Austria
14:50 – 15:20 Break
15:20 – 16:50 Discussion: Science Priorities for Arctic Research 2015-2021
16:50 – 17:30 Summary, Meeting Wrap Up and Closure
17:30 – 19:00 Poster Session with light dinner and refreshments hosted by CliC

The meeting is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jenny Baeseman.

If you have received an invitation, please register below.


Downloads – Documents relevant for this workshop

Report: Workshop on Novel Mission Concepts for Snow and Cryosphere Research

Report: WMO-PSTG White Paper on Requirements for Monitoring of Permafrost in Polar Regions

2014 CryoSat map of autumn sea-ice thickness in the Arctic

Abstracts of Presentations at the CliC-ESA Meeting Earth Observation and Arctic Science Priorities, January 20, 2015

Registered Participants
Name Affiliation, Country
Arslan, Ali Nadir Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
Baeseman, Jenny CliC International Project Office, Norway
Bacon, Sheldon National Oceanography Centre, UK
Bamber, Jonathan University of Bristol, GB
Bartsch, Annett Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Austria
Bouman, Johannes German Geodetic Research Institute, University of Munich, Germany
Box, Jason Geologic Survey, Denmark
Briggs, Kate University of Leeds, UK
Drinwater, Mark ESA-ESTEC, The Netherlands
Eldevik, Tor University of Bergen, Norway
Engdahl, Marcus ESA-ESRIN, Italy
Fernandez Prieto, Diego ESA-ESRIN, Italy
Flato, Gregory Environment Canada, Canada
Forsberg, Rene National Space Institute, Denmark
Gerland, Sebastian Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Gourmelen, Noel School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
Grabak, Ola ESA-ESRIN, Italy
Hamon, Gwenaelle CliC International Project Office, Norway
Heim, Birgit AWI, Germany
Hogg, Anna University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Hughes, Nick Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway
Kääb, Andreas University of Oslo, Norway
Kohler, Jack Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Langley, Kristy University of Oslo, Norway
Lauknes, Tom Rune Norut-Northern Research Institute, Norway
Macelloni, Giovanni Nello Carrara Institute of Applied Physics National Research Council, Italy
Malnes, Eirik Norut-Northern Research Institute, Norway
Marzeion, Ben University of Innsbruck, Austria
Matsuoka, Kenny Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Meister, Rakia National Space Institute, Denmark
Moholdt, Geir Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Orsolini, Yvan NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Norway
Rixen, Michel World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland
Rösel, Anja Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Sandven, Stein Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Norway
Sasgen, Ingo (remotely) German Research Centre for Geosciences,Germany
Schuler, Dagrun Vikhamar (remotely) Met Norway, Norway
Shepherd, Andrew Center for Polar Observation and Modelling, UK
Solberg, Rune Norwegian Computing Center, Norway
Spreen, Gunnar Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway
Stroeve, Julienne

US National Snow and Ice Data Center
UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling

Van Oostveen, Jelte

Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway

Vitale, Vito Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy
Wagner, Penelope Meteorologisk Institutt, Norway
Westermann, Sebastian University of Oslo, Norway
Wouters, Bert University of Bristol, UK
Joining the meeting online – *Note- this meeting is only open to invited participants*

For the online meeting, we will use the GoToWebinar Platform ( Please register for the ESA-CliC Earth Observation and Arctic Science Priorities meeting on January 20, 2015 8:00 AM CET at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. You will need to click a link that is unique to you and that should not be shared with others.

You will then have to choose one of the following audio options:

TO USE YOUR COMPUTER’S AUDIO: When the webinar begins, you will be connected to audio using your computer’s microphone and speakers (VoIP). A headset is recommended.


TO USE YOUR TELEPHONE: If you prefer to use your phone, you must select “Use Telephone” after joining the webinar and call in using the numbers provided, depending on your country.

Webinar ID: 144-428-203

Please contact us if you have any questions:
Jenny Baeseman:
Gwen Hamon:


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Local Information

Tromsø is situated at almost 70 degrees north, far above the Arctic Circle. It is a lively, humorous and beautiful city packed with culture and history, and surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands. Please click below to find more useful information.


Download Local Map with Venue, Hotel and Suggested Restaurants as well as information on getting from the airport to the hotel.

Getting to Tromsø

By Air

If you are traveling to Tromsø from abroad, you will most likely need to fly through Oslo. The Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) is easy to navigate and security lines are generally short. Major airlines connecting from abroad to Oslo are SAS, KLM, Lufthansa, Icelandair, Air France, British Airways, TAP Portugal and United. Within Europe, you may also want to check Norwegian Airlines for direct connections to Oslo.

There are several daily flights from Oslo (OSL) to Tromsø (TOS). The flight time is 1 h. 50 min. These flights are offered through SAS, Norwegian and Wideroe. Check their webpages for flight schedules.

For your transfer in Oslo you need to pick up your baggage, go through customs, then go up one floor to the departure area to check in for your domestic flight and go through security. Distances are relatively small. There are check-in automats and fast baggage drop for most airlines.

Tromsø International Airport is situated 5 km from the town centre and is small and easy to navigate and security lines are most often quite short. Ground transportation, taxis, rental cars, and buses to the city centre are located just outside the terminal.

By Boat, Train or Car

HurtigrutenThe Coastal Steamer (Hurtigruten) is generally considered to be the world’s most beautiful voyage, and is an excellent way of going to Tromsø – if you have the time and the money. The Costal Steamer sails from Bergen (northbound) and Kirkenes (southbound) every day. Check Hurtigruten for more information.

Tromsø cannot be reached directly by train. The Swedish rail network ( operates trains to Narvik, Norway, and there are regular buses from Narvik to Tromsø (, approximately a four-hour ride.

Express buses connect Tromsø and major cities in Northern Norway, especially Narvik (appr. 4 hours), from where you can go by train to Stockholm (if you have more time than money). For schedules, check NorWay Bus Express.

Transportation from Tromsø Airport to the City Centre and elsewhere

Airport Express Bus (Flybussen) operates regular buses from the airport to the city centre for NOK 70 and city bus routes 42 and 40 run from the airport to the city centre for NOK 40. There is a monitor with the bus schedule in the baggage claim area at the airport. See the airport web pages for further information and click here for city bus schedules.

Taxis are also available from a cue outside the terminal and cost about 200 NOK to the city centre. Taxis take most major credit cards and almost all taxi drivers are fluent in Norwegian and English. In the unlikely event that there is no taxi waiting, join the queue outside, make sure you are visible to the camera and a taxi will arrive shortly or call Tromsø Taxi at +47 776 03000 (if you have a Norwegian phone call 03011) or text TAXI to 2233.


January is a very busy time in Tromsø, so we recommend booking your hotel early!

A block of rooms at the Quality Hotel Saga in Tromsø has been set aside from January 19 to 21, 2015, for participants in the ESA-CliC Arctic Science Priorities Workshop. The prices are 1295 NOK/night for a single room and 1495 NOK/night for a double room. If you want to make your own reservation, please feel free to use the following reference number: 72163. Otherwise, please contact Gwen Hamon ( if you need assistance.

Quality Hotel Saga
Richard Withs plass 2
9008 Tromsø
Tel: +47 77 60 70 02

Money, Currency Exchange, Electricity, Visas and Weather

Money and Currency Exchange

The Norwegian currency is Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Things can be quite expensive for foreigners, but several shops offer a tax refund receipt you can cash in at the Oslo airport on your way home.

There are several banks in the town centre as well as in the shopping malls. There are also many outside ATM machines in the town centre and at the airport that take foreign cards, but most places accept credit/debit cards. Taxis take credit cards, but buses require cash.


European OutletNorway uses the Europlug (Type C & F), which has two round prongs. Most laptops will automatically work with 220 volts (check the back of your laptop for power input markings.) That means, you’ll only need an adapter to change the shape of your power plug to fit into an outlet in Norway. These power adapters are relatively cheap.

If you bring small appliances, be careful. The shape adapter may not be enough. While basically all personal electronics in recent years will accept both voltages, some older, smaller appliances don’t work with the hefty 220v in Europe. Check if the label near the appliance’s power cord shows 100-240 v and 50-60 Hz. If it does not, you will need a “step-down transformer” (also called a converter) – these are usually not the cheap adapters you can find in an airport.

The converter will reduce the 220 volts from the outlet to provide just 110 volts for the appliance. These converters cost a little more than simple adapters. Compare prices of converters here.
Tip: Don’t bring any type of hair dryer to Norway – they can be hard to match up with a suitable converter due to their high power consumption. Instead, just check if your accommodation in Norway has one in the room, or buy a cheap one locally.

(modified from and

Visa Information for Norway

Visas are not required by visitors from the following countries* for visit up to 90 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.

* Please double check with your embassy to make sure this is current information.

How do you apply for a visa?
Visa Application forms
Norwegian Embassies Worldwide
Norwegian Embassy in China
*** If you need an invitation letter from the meeting organizers to accompany your visa application, please send the info you need to have included.

Weather Conditions

Tromsø is at close to 70 degrees North, the same latitude as parts of the Northern coast of Alaska. The Gulf Stream helps, but there are limits … YOU NEED TO BRING WARM CLOTHES AND GOOD FOOTWEAR, any time of year. Winter is generally mild around 0C and summers can also be quite chilly in northern Norway. A jacket for wind and rain is a must any time of year. Gloves, hat, and a scarf would also be good to have. Consider bringing long, wool underwear and a wool sweater/fleece if you want to spend a few hours outside. Remember that the weather can change quickly in Northern Norway. Winter nights are dark, with no sunshine and Summer days are long with no darkness, so bring a sun lap or sleep mask if you think you’ll have trouble adjusting.

You can check the weather forecast here.

Finding Your Way Around Tromsø

Tromsø is an easy city to navigate and most everything is centrally located. Ask your hotel desk for a city map or check out this online version to help you find what you are looking for.

The city buses will take you around the town and the immediate vicinity. A bus schedule (in Norwegian) can be found at (click Reiseplanlegger to find exact times from specific bus stops). You will need a bus pass or cash to ride the bus (40 NOK per ride). Some common buses you may be interested in (many stop at Frederik Langes gata in the city centre):

  • Bus 20/21 to the University of Tromsø: leaves from Fr. Langes gate (F1) in the centre of the city and takes approximately 10 minutes.
  • Bus 26 to the Fjellheisen and the Cable Car: leaves from Storgata 1 and Skippergata (outside Peppe’s Pizza)
  • Buses 40 and 42 to the Airport (see above).
  • Buses 24, 26, 28, and 40 go to the major shopping area at Giæverbukta near the airport.

You can get a taxi at several taxi stands in the centre of the city. If you want to call for a taxi (you can speak Norwegian or English), these are the numbers you need:

  • Din Taxi: +47 02045
  • Tromsø Taxi: 03011(if you have a Norwegian phone ) if not call +47 776 03000 or text TAXI to 2233.

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This workshop is being held as a side event to the Arctic Frontiers 2015 Conference.

The Arctic Frontiers conference is a central arena for discussions of Arctic issues. The conference brings together representatives from science, politics, and civil society to share perspectives on how upcoming challenges in the Arctic may be addressed to ensure sustainable development. Arctic Frontiers is composed of a policy section and a scientific section.

The 9th Arctic Frontiers science section Climate and Energy will address three main themes:

  1. Arctic climate change – global implications,
  2. Ecological winners and losers in future Arctic marine ecosystems
  3. The Arctic’s role in the global energy supply and security.