Carl Leuschen

A Letter from the Director

CReSIS director Carl Leuschen shares some exciting changes and further thoughts on the state of our center.

When I was officially named to the role of director of the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets in February 2020, I could not have foreseen the difficult year we had before us. As scientific activity is returning, I am excited to lead CReSIS into the new challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

Our mission at CReSIS has shifted a bit since the center began over 15 years ago. For these changing priorities, we have chosen a new name for the center: Center for Remote Sensing and Integrated Systems. The change from Ice Sheets to Integrated Systems lets us keep CReSIS, while also including some of the other broader activities occurring at the Center.

Our work in the Arctic and Antarctic has led to new projects. Coming off the success of our participation in NASA's recently completed Operation IceBridge, CReSIS has partnered with Vanilla Unmanned to fly a lightweight ultra-wideband radar over Arctic sea ice. Our work with unmanned aerial systems (UASs) will continue to consider the stressors of remote field locations, but there are so many applications for our radar and sounding equipment, like agriculture, hydrology, and disaster management. As we expand and improve UAS navigation through greater payload capabilities, collision avoidance, and nonlinear model predictive control, we will consider a range of uses for deployment on manned and unmanned aircraft, from Polar Regions to Kansas. The integration of "integrated systems" to the CReSIS name will reflect our evolving focus in an ever-more-technical world.

But despite the new name, CReSIS will continue to conduct polar research. We will continue to deploy to, survey, and create data and models of challenging arctic areas. One of our biggest contributions to research in the Cryosphere has been to provide the scientific community with open-source data from our Accumulation, Snow, and Ku-band radars as well as the CReSIS toolbox and the Open Polar Server. We have accumulated a considerable amount of data - 1.2 petabytes worth!

CReSIS has contributed to our understanding of how to respond to the threat of sea level rise and climate change by improving our understanding of ice sheet dynamics. Promising scientists and researchers have built strong careers in academics, government, and industry after getting their start here. I look forward to educating future students, developing new technology, and forging new collaborations as climate change research only becomes more vital.