Sinéad Louise Farrell joined the Department of Geographical Sciences as an associate professor in the fall of 2019. Dr. Farrell has a joint appointment with the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. Dr. Farrell received her Ph.D. in Space and Climate Physics from University College London in 2007. Her primary fields of study are cryospheric sciences and remote sensing. She is a principal investigator on the NASA ICESat-2 Science Team and a member of the Mission Advisory Group for the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter. Prior to joining the Department of Geographical Sciences, Dr. Farrell was an Associate Research Scientist at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), at the University of Maryland. She is also a visiting scientist with the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, College Park, MD.

Areas of Interest

  • Remote sensing
  • Polar oceans and sea ice
  • Laser and Radar Altimetry, SAR
  • Climate monitoring
  • Earth System Science
CV: CV for FARRELL 110.22 KB


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University College London
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University College London
Teaching Philosophy
Fall 2021
AOSC440/GEOG440: Polar Remote Sensing
The harsh environment of the vast polar regions makes them some of the most inaccessible places on Earth. With widespread environmental change already underway, satellite remote sensing provides the only means by which to obtain year-round observations of the polar climate system. The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of polar remote sensing techniques, including the physical principles of active and passive sensors, orbits, electromagnetic radiation, atmospheric transmission, calibration and validation. We will focus on measurements of the polar oceans, sea ice, glaciers, ice sheets, snow and permafrost, and examine the response of the cryosphere to climate change.

Spring 2020 and 2021
GEOG301: Advanced Geographical Environmental Systems
GEOG301 is organized around eight major topics:
(1) Global Energy Balance and the Greenhouse Effect
(2) Atmospheric Circulation
(3) Oceanic circulation
(4) The Geosphere
(5) The Biosphere
(6) The Cryosphere
(7) Climate Change: past, present and future
(8) Monitoring and Modeling Earth Systems
Philosophy Upload
Attachment Size
GEOG301_Syllabus_Spring_2021.v1.pdf1.25 MB 1.25 MB
PolarRemoteSensing_Syllabus_Fall2023.pdf414.05 KB 414.05 KB
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
GEOG301 Advanced Geographical Environmental Systems Spring 2020 Syllabus

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Duncan, K., & Farrell, S. L. (2022). Determining variability in Arctic sea ice pressure ridge topography with ICESat-2. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2022GL100272.
  2. Meier, W. M., D. Perovich, S. Farrell, C. Haas, S. Hendricks, A. Petty, M. Webster, D. Divine, S. Gerland, L. Kaleschke, R. Ricker, A. Steer, X. Tian-Kunze, M. Tschudi, and K. Wood, (2021). Sea Ice, Arctic Report Card 2021, T. A. Moon, M. L. Druckenmiller, & R. L. Thoman, Eds., NOAA Technical Report OAR ARC 21-05,
  3. Meier, W., D. Perovich, S. Farrell, C. Haas, S. Hendricks, L. Kaleschke, A. Petty, M. Tschudi, M. Webster, D. Divine, S. Gerland, O. Pavlova, R. Ricker, X. Tian-Kunze, and K. Wood, (2021). Sea Ice [in “State of the Climate in 2020”], Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 102(8), S279–S282,
  4. Rösel, A., Farrell, S. L., Nandan, V., Richter-Menge, J., Spreen, G., Divine, D. V., Gallet, J.-C., and Gerland, S. (2021). Implications of surface flooding on airborne thickness measurements of snow on sea ice, The Cryosphere, 15, 2819–2833,
  5. International Altimetry Team (2021). Altimetry for the future: Building on 25 years of progress. Advances in Space Research, 68(2), 319-363, 
  6. Fredensborg Hansen, R. M., Rinne, E., Farrell, S. L., and Skourup, H. (2021). Estimation of degree of sea ice ridging in the Bay of Bothnia based on geolocated photon heights from ICESat-2. The Cryosphere, 15(6), 2511–2529,
  7. MacGregor, J. A., et al. (2021). The scientific legacy of NASA's Operation IceBridge. Reviews of Geophysics, 59, e2020RG000712.
  8. Perovich, D., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Hendricks, A. A. Petty, D. Divine, S. Farrell, S. Gerland, C. Haas, L. Kaleschke, O. Pavlova, R. Ricker, X. Tian-Kunze, M. Webster, and K. Wood (2020). Sea Ice. Arctic Report Card 2020, R. L. Thoman, J. Richter-Menge, and M. L. Druckenmiller, Eds.,
  9. Farrell, S. L., Duncan, K., Buckley, E. M., Richter‐Menge, J., & Li, R. (2020). Mapping Sea Ice Surface Topography in High Fidelity with ICESat‐2. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090708. 
  10. Andersen, J. K., Andreassen, L. M., Baker, E. H., Ballinger, T. J., Berner, L. T., Bernhard, G. H., Bhatt, U. S., Bjerke, J. W., Box, J. E., Britt, L., Brown, R., Burgess, D., Cappelen, J., Christiansen, H. H., Decharme, B., Derksen, C., Drozdov, D. S., Epstein, H. E., Farquharson, L. M., Farrell, S. L., Fausto, R. S., Fettweis, X., Fioletov, V. E., Forbes, B. C., Frost, G. V., Gerland, S., Goetz, S. J., Grooß, J., Hanna, E., Hanssen-Bauer, I., Hendricks, S., Ialongo, I., Isaksen, K., Johnsen, B., Kaleschke, L., Kholodov, A. L., Kim, S., Kohler, J., Labe, Z., Ladd, C., Lakkala, K., Lara, M. J., Loomis, B., Luks, B., Luojus, K., Macander, M. J., Malkova, G. V., Mankoff, K. D., Manney, G. L., Marsh, J. M., Meier, W., Moon, T. A., Mote, T., Mudryk, L., Mueter, F. J., Müller, R., Nyland, K. E., O’Neel, S., Overland, J. E., Perovich, D., Phoenix, G. K., Raynolds, M. K., Reijmer, C. H., Ricker, R., Romanovsky, V. E., Schuur, E. A. G., Sharp, M., Shiklomanov, N. I., Smeets, C. J. P. P., Smith, S. L., Streletskiy, D. A., Tedesco, M., Thoman, R. L., Thorson, J. T., Tian-Kunze, X., Timmermans, M., Tømmervik, H., Tschudi, M., van As, D., van de Wal, R. S. W., Walker, D. A., Walsh, J. E., Wang, M., Webster, M., Winton, Ø., Wolken, G. J., Wood, K., Wouters, B., & Zador, S. (2020). The Arctic, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 101(8), S239-S286.
  11. Duncan, K., S. L. Farrell, J. Hutchings, J. Richter-Menge (2020). Late Winter Observations of Sea Ice Pressure Ridge Sail Height. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters,
  12. Kern, M., R. Cullen, B. Berruti, J. Bouffard, T. Casal, M. R. Drinkwater, A. Gabriele, A. Lecuyot, M. Ludwig, R. Midthassel, I. Navas Traver, T. Parrinello, G. Ressler, E. Andersson, C. Martin Puig, O. Andersen, A. Bartsch, S. L. Farrell, S. Fleury, S. Gascoin, A. Guillot, A. Humbert, E. Rinne, A. Shepherd, M. R. van den Broeke, J. Yackel, (2020), The Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) high-priority candidate mission, The Cryosphere, 14, 2235–2251,
  13. Buckley, E. M., Farrell, S. L., Duncan, K., Connor, L. N., Kuhn, J. M., & Dominguez, R. T. (2020). Classification of sea ice summer melt features in high‐resolution IceBridge imagery. J. Geophys. Res., 125, e2019JC015738.
  14. Perovich, D., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Hendricks, S. Gerland, L. Kaleschke, R. Ricker, X. Tian-Kunze, M. Webster and K. Wood (2019b), Sea ice, Arctic Report Card 2019, peer-reviewed,  
  15. Magruder, L., T. Neumann, H. Fricker, S. L. Farrell, K. Brunt, A. Gardner, D. Hancock, K. Harbeck, M. Jasinski, R. Kwok, N. Kurtz, J. Lee, T. Markus, J. Morison, A. Neuenschwander, S. Palm, S. Popescu, B. Smith and Y. Yang (2019), New Earth orbiter provides a sharper look at a changing planet, EOS, 100,
  16. Perovich, D., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Hendricks, S. Gerland, C. Haas, T. Krumpen, C. Polashenski, R. Ricker and M. Webster (2019a), Sea ice cover [in “State of the Climate in 2018”], Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 100(9), S146–150,   
  17. Kwok, R., Markus, T., Kurtz, N. T., Petty, A. A., Neumann, T. A., Farrell, S. L., Cunningham, G. F., Hancock, D. W., Ivanoff, A., Wimert, J. (2019), Surface height and sea ice freeboard of the Arctic Ocean from ICESat‐2: Characteristics and early results, J. Geophys. Res., 124.
  18. Sallila, H., S.L. Farrell, J. McCurry, and E. Rinne (2019). Assessment of Contemporary Satellite Sea Ice Thickness Products for Arctic Sea Ice. The Cryosphere, 13, 1187-1213, 2019
  19. Perovich, D. K., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Hendricks, S. Gerland, C. Haas, T. Krumpen, C. Polashenski, R. Ricker, M. Webster (2018b), Sea ice, Arctic Report Card 2018, peer-reviewed,
  20. Rostosky, P., Spreen, G., Farrell, S. L., Frost, T., Heygster, G., & Melsheimer, C. (2018). Snow depth retrieval on Arctic sea ice from passive microwave radiometers - Improvements and extensions to multiyear ice using lower frequencies. J. Geophys. Res., 123, 7120–7138.
  21. Perovich, D. K., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Hendricks, S. Gerland, C. Haas, T. Krumpen, C. Polashenski, R. Ricker and M. Webster (2018a), Sea ice cover [in “State of the Climate in 2017”], Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 99(8), S147–152,    
  22. Shepherd, A., H. A. Fricker, S. L. Farrell (2018), Trends and Connections Across the Antarctic Cryosphere, Nature, 558, 223-232,
  23. Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., M. A. Webster, S. L. Farrell and C. M. Bitz (2018), Reconstruction of Snow on Arctic Sea Ice, J. Geophys. Res.,
  24. Allard, R. A., S. L. Farrell, D. A. Hebert, W. F. Johnston, L. Li, N. T. Kurtz, M. W. Phelps, P. G. Posey, R. Tilling, A. Ridout, A. J. Wallcraft (2018), Utilizing CryoSat-2 Ice Thickness to Initialize a Coupled Ice-Ocean Modeling System, Advances in Space Res.,   
  25. Duncan, K., S. L. Farrell, L. N. Connor, J. Richter-Menge and R. Dominguez (2018), High-Resolution Airborne Observations of Sea Ice Pressure-Ridge Sail Height, Annals of Glaciology,
  26. Perovich, D. K., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Hendricks, S. Gerland, C. Haas, T. Krumpen, C. Polashenski, R. Ricker, M. Webster (2017), Sea ice, Arctic Report Card 2017, peer-reviewed,
  27. Skourup, H., S. L. Farrell, S. Hendricks, R. Ricker, T. W. K. Armitage, A. Ridout, O. B. Andersen, C. Haas and S. Baker (2017), An Assessment of State-of-the-Art Mean Sea Surface and Geoid Models of the Arctic Ocean: Implications for Sea Ice Freeboard Retrieval, J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, 122,
  28. Kwok, R., N. T. Kurtz, L. Brucker, A. Ivanoff, T. Newman, S. L. Farrell, J. King, S. Howell, M. A. Webster, J. Paden, C. Leuschen, J. A. MacGregor, J. Richter-Menge, J. Harbeck and M. Tschudi (2017), Intercomparison of snow depth retrievals over Arctic sea ice from radar data acquired by Operation IceBridge, The Cryosphere, 11, 2571-2593,
  29. Cole, S. T., J. M. Toole, R. Lele, M.-L. Timmermans, S. G. Gallaher, T. P. Stanton, W. J. Shaw, B. Hwang, T. Maksym, J. P. Wilkinson, M. Ortiz, H. Graber, L. Rainville, A. A. Petty, S. L. Farrell, J. A. Richter-Menge and C. Haas (2017), Ice and ocean velocity in the Arctic marginal ice zone: Ice roughness and momentum transfer, Elementa Sci. Anth., 5(55),
  30. Perovich, D., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Gerland, S. Hendricks, T. Krumpen and C. Haas (2017), Sea ice cover [in “State of the Climate in 2016”], Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98(8), S131–S133
  31. Yan, J.-B., S. Gogineni, F. Rodriguez-Morales, D. Gomez-Garcia, J. Paden, J. Li, C. Leuschen, D. Braaten, J. Richter-Menge, S. Farrell, J. Brozena and R. Hale (2017), Airborne Measurements of Snow Thickness: Using ultrawide-band frequency-modulated-continuous-wave radars, IEEE Geosci. Rem. Sens. Mag., 5(2), pp. 57-76,    
  32. Markus, T., T. Neumann, A. Martino, W. Abdalati, K. Brunt, B. Csatho, S. Farrell, H. Fricker, A. Gardner, D. Harding, M. Jasinski, R. Kwok, L. Magruder, D. Lubin, S. Luthcke, J. Morison, R. Nelson, A. Neuenschwander, S. Palm, S. Popescu, CK Shum, B. E. Schutz, B. Smith, Y. Yang and J. Zwally (2017), The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2): Science requirements, concept, and implementation, Rem. Sens. Environ., 190, 260-273,   
  33. Perovich, D. K., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Gerland, S. Hendricks, T. Krumpen and C. Haas (2016), Sea ice, Arctic Report Card 2016, peer-reviewed (
  34. Perovich, D., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Gerland and S. Hendricks (2016), Sea ice cover [in “State of the Climate in 2015”], Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 97(8), S134–S135
  35. Petty, A., M. Tsamados, N. Kurtz, S. Farrell, T. Newman, J. Harbeck, D. Feltham and J. Richter-Menge (2016), Characterizing Arctic sea ice topography using high-resolution IceBridge data, The Cryosphere, 10(3), 1161
  36. Perovich, D. K., W. Meier, M. Tschudi, S. Farrell, S. Gerland and S. Hendricks (2015), Sea ice, Arctic Report Card 2015, peer-reviewed,
  37. Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., S. L. Farrell, T. Newman and C. M. Bitz (2015), Snow cover on Arctic sea ice in observations and an Earth System Model, Geophys. Res. Lett.,
  38. Farrell, S. L., K. M. Brunt, J. M. Ruth, J. M. Kuhn, L. N. Connor and K. M. Walsh (2015), Sea Ice Freeboard Retrieval using Digital Photon-counting Laser Altimetry, Ann. Glaciol., 56(69), 167–174,
  39. Newman T., S. L. Farrell, J. Richter-Menge, B. Elder, L. Connor, N. Kurtz and D. McAdoo (2014), Assessment of Radar-derived Snow Depth Measurements over Arctic sea ice, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 8578–8602,
  40. Webster, M. A., I. G. Rigor, S. V. Nghiem, N. T. Kurtz, S. L. Farrell, D. K. Perovich and M. Sturm (2014), Interdecadal Changes in Snow Depth on Arctic Sea Ice, J. Geophys Res., 119,
  41. Tsamados, M., D. Feltham, D. Schroeder, D. Flocco, S. Farrell, N. Kurtz, S. Laxon, and S. Bacon (2014), Impact of atmospheric and oceanic form drag on simulations of Arctic sea ice, J. Phys. Oceanog., 44, 1329-1353,
  42. Richter-Menge, J., and S. L. Farrell (2013), Arctic Sea Ice Conditions in Spring 2009 - 2013 Prior to Melt, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 5888-5893,
  43. Kurtz, N., S. L. Farrell, M. Studinger, N. Galin, J. Harbeck, R. Lindsay, V. Onana, B. Panzer, and J. Sonntag (2013), Sea ice thickness, freeboard, and snow depth products from Operation IceBridge airborne data, The Cryosphere,7,1035-1056,
  44. Connor, L. C., S. L. Farrell, D. C. McAdoo, W. B. Krabill, and S. Manizade (2013), Validating ICESat over thick sea ice in the northern Canada Basin, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing, 51(4), 2188-2200,
  45. Laxon, S.W., Giles, K. A., Ridout, A. L., Wingham, D. J., Willatt, R., Cullen, R., Kwok, R., Schweiger, A., Zhang, J., Haas, C., Hendricks, S., Krishfield, R., Kurtz, N., Farrell, S. L., Davidson, M. (2013), CryoSat Estimates of Arctic Sea Ice Volume, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40(4), 732-737,  
  46. McAdoo, D. C., S. L Farrell, S. W. Laxon, A. L. Ridout, H. J Zwally & D. Yi (2013), Gravity of the Arctic Ocean from satellite data with validations using airborne gravimetry: oceanographic implications,J. Geophys. Res.,118,917–930,
  47. Kurtz, N., M. Studinger, S. Farrell, J. Paden, J. Richter-Menge, J. Sonntag, and J. Yungel (2013), IceBridge Airborne Survey Data Support Arctic Sea Ice Predictions, EOS Trans. AGU, 94(4), 41,
  48. Onana, V. D. P., N. T. Kurtz, S. Farrell, L. S. Koenig, M. Studinger, and J. P. Harbeck (2013), A Sea Ice Lead Detection Algorithm for use with High Resolution Airborne Visible Imagery, IEEE Trans. Geosci. & Rem. Sens.,51(1),38-56,
  49. Farrell, S. L., N. Kurtz, L. N. Connor, B. C. Elder, C. Leuschen, T. Markus, D. C. McAdoo, B. Panzer, J. Richter-Menge, and J. G. Sonntag (2012b), A First Assessment of IceBridge Snow and Ice Thickness Data Over Arctic Sea Ice, IEEE Trans. Geosci. & Rem. Sens., 50(6), 2098 - 2111,
  50. Gardner, J., J. Richter-Menge, S. Farrell, and J. M. Brozena (2012), Coincident multiscale estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness, EOS Trans. AGU, 93(6), 57,
  51. Farrell, S. L., D. C. McAdoo, S. W. Laxon, H. J. Zwally, D. Yi, A. Ridout, and K. Giles (2012a), Mean Dynamic Topography of the Arctic Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L01601,
  52. Kurtz, N. T. and S. L. Farrell (2011), Large-scale surveys of snow depth on Arctic sea ice from Operation IceBridge, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L20505,
  53. Kurtz, N. T., T. Markus, S. L. Farrell, D. L. Worthen, and L. N. Boisvert (2011), Observations of recent Arctic sea ice volume loss and its impact on ocean-atmosphere energy exchange and ice production, J. Geophys. Res., 116, C04015,
  54. Farrell, S. L., T. Markus, R. Kwok, L. Connor (2011), Laser Altimetry Sampling Strategies over Sea Ice, Annals Glaciol., 52(57), 69-76,
  55. Abdalati, W., H. J. Zwally, R. Bindschadler, B. Csatho, S. L. Farrell, H. A. Fricker, D. Harding, R. Kwok, M. Lefsky, T. Markus, A. Marshak, T. Neumann, S. Palm, B. Schutz, B. Smith, J. Spinhirne, C. Webb (2010), The ICESat-2 Laser Altimetry Mission, Proc. IEEE, 98(5), 735 – 751,
  56. Kwok, R., S. Farrell, R. Forsberg, K. Giles, S. Laxon, D. McAdoo, J. Morison, L. Padman, C. Peralta-Ferriz, A. Proshutinsky, and M. Steele (2010), Combining satellite altimetry, time-variable gravity, and bottom pressure observations to understand the Arctic Ocean: A transformative opportunity, in Proc. OceanObs09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Hall, J., D. E. Harrison and D. Stammer (eds.), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, ESA Publication WPP-306, peer-reviewed.
  57. Farrell, S. L., S. W. Laxon, D. C. McAdoo, D. Yi, and H. J. Zwally (2009), Five years of Arctic sea ice freeboard measurements from the Ice, Cloud and land elevation Satellite, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C04008,
  58. McAdoo, D. C., S. L. Farrell, S. W. Laxon, H. J. Zwally, D. Yi, and A. L. Ridout (2008), Arctic Ocean Gravity Field Derived from ICESat and ERS-2 Altimetry: Tectonic Implications, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B05408,
  59. Farrell, S. L. (2007), Satellite Laser Altimetry Over Sea Ice, Ph.D. doctoral thesis, 224 pp., Univ. College London, London, U. K., peer-reviewed,


  • National
    NASA ICESat-2 Science Team
  • National
    NOAA/NASA Ocean Surface Topogrpahy Science Team
  • International
    Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) Mission Advisory Group

Current Students

Former Students

Photo for S Farrell
4600 River Road, Suite 353 (send mail to 2181 LeFrak)
Department of Geographical Sciences
sineadf [at]