First view of 2019 field site

It’s an unusually warm 17 C here in Svalbard this week, and the glaciers are responding by shedding their winter snow rapidly. In this short drone clip you can see the areas where snow melt has exposed the glacier ice underneath and dirty streaks where debris has washed over the surface. I’m expecting these warm … Continue reading First view of 2019 field site

Heliguy Blog: Drones for Climate

UK drone company Heliguy recently ran a blog article about my work with drones in the Arctic including on my Microsoft/National Geographic AI for Earth grant. Drones have been increasingly important in my work on Arctic climate change, especially in mapping melting over glacier surfaces and as a way to link ground measurements with satellite … Continue reading Heliguy Blog: Drones for Climate

Eyes in the Sky 2: Airspace

Just like the land and oceans, the sky is divided into regulated regions. This makes sense, as it prevents unauthorised flights over sensitive and/or dangerous areas like airports, military zones, power stations, private land etc. Knowing the airspace classification is a fundamental prerequisite for making safe and legal flights with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). … Continue reading Eyes in the Sky 2: Airspace

Eyes in the Sky 1: METAR

I'm currently studying for my CAA permission for commercial operations (PfCO) - what is commonly thought of as the UK drone pilot's license. Flying small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) is an increasingly common part of field science especially in polar science where a) scaling in-field observations over space is critical, b) we rely heavily on … Continue reading Eyes in the Sky 1: METAR

Machine Learning: An unexplored horizon for Polar science

I recently published an article in Open Access Government about the potential for machine learning technologies to revolutionise Polar science, with focus on optical remote sensing data from drones and satellites.  You can read it online  or download it from OAGov_Oct18  

Greenland Aurora

Camping on the ice sheet in September/October was a new experience - I'd never seen darkness on the ice before! The lack of light pollution and cloud-free skies made for a truly spectacular display of the Northern Lights. It was -25C and 35 knot winds pretty much constantly, so it was a constant battle between … Continue reading Greenland Aurora

On the ice with the BBC

The BBC Science team joined us for our first twenty-four hours on the ice this year, documented our work on algal darkening of the Greenland Ice Sheet. This started in the dusty town of Kangerlussuaq, where I took David Shukman, Kate Stephens and Jonathon Sumberg out to Russell Glacier. There, while I flew the drone … Continue reading On the ice with the BBC

Frontiers Paper: Albedo products from drones

A new paper, led by Johnny Ryan, shows that a consumer grade digital camera mounted to a drone can be used to estimate the albedo of ice surfaces with an accuracy of +/- 5%. This is important because albedo measurements are fundamental to predicting melt, but satellite albedo data is limited in its spatial and … Continue reading Frontiers Paper: Albedo products from drones

Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned

Here are a few things I learned after ten days of field testing the UAV multispectral data acquisition in Svalbard... Video showing take off in stabilize mode, switch to loiter mode at about 5 m, quick control test then into automatic mission.  1. The UAV is surprisingly robust. The aircraft was transported to the sites … Continue reading Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned