Current Members


Randy Scharien, Assistant Professor, ICElab Director

Randy Scharien (PhD University of Calgary, Microwave Remote Sensing) is an expert in the microwave remote sensing of the cryosphere and the impacts of changing climate on sea ice. He joined the Department of Geography, University of Victoria in 2014. Prior to that he was a European Space Agency Changing Earth Science Network investigator (2013-2014).  He uses in situ, airborne, and satellite remote sensing to study the changing cryosphere, with emphasis on atmosphere-sea ice-ocean interactions.  He has conducted field research at several high latitude locations, including the Canadian Arctic, the European Arctic, and Antarctica.


Vishnu Nandan, Post-Doctoral Scholar

Vishnu is an emerging early-career research scientist (Ph.D. University of Calgary, Microwave Remote Sensing), with strong demonstrated expertise in polarimetric radar remote sensing of the Arctic and the Antarctic sea ice. Specifically, his research focuses on understanding the critical role of snow cover impacting sea ice thickness retrievals from radar satellites. Prior to his Ph.D. research, Vishnu was a Research Associate at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany, where his research focused on airborne- and satellite-based radar remote sensing of Antarctic ice shelves. He completed his M.Sc in Earth Observation Sciences at ITC, The Netherlands, where his research focused on compact polarimetry for retrieving forest biomass from Mangrove forests. Vishnu has extensively conducted and participated in several Arctic research expeditions including the Canadian, Siberian, Russian and the Norwegian Arctic.

Parnian Rezania, PhD Student


Parnian (MSc. in Geological Remote Sensing, Azad University of Isfahan, Iran) conducted master’s thesis research on the application of remote sensing data in groundwater exploration. She employed optical remote sensing data, elevation data (Aster DEM), as well as several hydrological and geophysical methods to identify potential well locations in the Borkhar area in central Iran. Parnian began a PhD project focused on Arctic sea ice hazard monitoring using satellite remote sensing data in the fall of 2017. ​

Aikaterini Tavri, PhD Student


Aikaterini is a first year PhD student in Microwave Remote Sensing, working on sea ice classification using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Her research aims to evaluate the use of polarimetric SAR features for assessing the contribution of scattering mechanisms for sea ice type discrimination and evolution. Aikaterini’s main focus is on the upcoming launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) in 2018, which establishes a new era for SAR based Arctic marine environmental monitoring.

Silvie Cafarella, MSc Student


Silvie’s research focuses on the use of satellite synthetic aperture radar as a sea ice monitoring tool in the Arctic. The main goal of Silvie’s project is to improve remote sensing techniques to detect, classify, and derive geophysical parameters of sea ice features in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Her research is focused on the use of remote sensing technology for natural hazard mapping, assessment, and mitigation.

Rebecca Segal, MSc Student


Becky’s MSc research works to combine remote sensing and traditional knowledge to make sea ice information products of interest to residents in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, western Canadian Arctic.  She uses interviews with community members to inform and guide the analysis of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images. I am using current SENTINEL-1, COSMO-SkyMed, and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 imagery as well as a 20-year archive of RADARSAT 1/2 images to understand how community relevant parameters derived from archived imaging radar data can benefit people who live and travel in the Arctic. Her project is partnered with the Canadian Ice Service, the Ice-Covered Ecosystems – CAmbridge Bay Process Studies (ICE-CAMPS) group, Ocean Networks Canada, and the Arctic Eider Society (SEA-AES).

Past Members

Sasha Nasonova, MSc Student(2015-2018)


Sasha’s thesis research investigated linkages between the extent of melt ponds on  sea ice to winter (pre-melt) sea ice roughness and thickness, for improved understanding of sea ice structure and melting processes. Her work contributed to the growing body of literature on the parameterization of melt pond fraction in sea ice-climate models. She  also investigated the utility of polarimetric synthetic aperture radar parameters for distinguishing major sea ice types (first-year ice, deformed first-year ice and multiyear ice) during the advanced melt season. This research contributes to improved satellite based sea ice awareness for safe marine navigation and ecosystem preservation through disaster prevention.

Trilby Buck, Undergraduate Honours Student (2017-2018)


Trilby’s honours thesis used time series analysis to look at changes in arctic sea ice melt and freeze up, in regards to community sea ice travel safety. Her project determined and reported on the changes of sea ice cover melt onset, pond onset, break up and freeze up (a sea ice phenology) as it relates to informed and safe sea ice use by community members in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, in the Western Canadian Arctic. Identification of seasonal changes in melt and freeze using remotely sensed imagery will were emphasized as it relates to community needs. Time-series data were derived from MODIS for the years 2000-2017. Findings were related to changes in sea ice use by the communities, and shared directly to members of Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk in spring 2018 .

Cassie Bosma, Undergraduate Honours Student (2017-2018)