Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Sinead Louise Farrell


Org Code: 615

Mail Code: 615
Greenbelt, MD 20771


Brief Bio

Sinéad Louise Farrell, Ph.D, is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She is a visiting scientist at the Cryospheric Sciences Branch (Code 615,, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and at the Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP).  Previously Dr. Farrell was a National Research Council Research Associate at NOAA between 2007 and 2009.  She studied at University College London and was awarded an M.Sci. in Earth and Space Science in 2002, and a Ph.D. in 2007, for her dissertation on satellite laser altimetry over sea ice.

Sinéad is a member of both the NASA Operation IceBridge Science Team ( and the NASA ICESat-2 Science Definition Team (

Research Interests

Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere

Earth Science: Cryosphere / Earth's Ice Cover

Sinéad's research focuses on the polar climate system. Her primary interests lie in remote sensing of the polar oceans using satellite and airborne altimetry for marine geophysics and cryospheric investigations.

Current Projects


Remote Sensing

ICESat-2 Science Definition Team Member

Operation IceBridge

Sea Ice

IceBridge Science Team Member


Assistant Research Scientist

University of Maryland - College Park

2011 - Present

Earth System Scinece Interdisciplinary Center

Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Maryland - College Park

2009 - 2011

National Research Council Research Associate

National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council - Washington DC

2007 - 2009

NRC Research Associateship Program
Based at NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, Silver Spring, MD


2007     Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Space & Climate Physics, University College London, United Kingdom
2002     Master in Science (M.Sci.), Earth and Space Science, University College London, United Kingdom

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

2003 - Present


NASA Agency Honor Award for Group Achievement: Acknowledged for "exceptional achievement in support of NASA's IceBridge campaign", awarded to members of the IceBridge Team in August 2011.

Selected Publications


Tsamados, M., D. Feltham, D. Schroeder, et al. D. Flocco, S. Farrell, N. Kurtz, S. Laxon, and S. Bacon. 2014. Impact of Variable Atmospheric and Oceanic Form Drag on Simulations of Arctic Sea Ice J. Phys. Oceanog. 44 (5): 1329-1353 [10.1175/JPO-D-13-0215.1]

Kurtz, N. T., J. Richter-Menge, S. L. Farrell, et al. M. Studinger, J. Paden, J. G. Sonntag, and J. K. Yungel. 2013. IceBridge Airborne Survey Data Support Arctic Sea Ice Predictions Eos Trans. AGU 94 (4): 41 [10.1002/2013EO040001]

Richter-Menge, J., and S. L. Farrell. 2013. Arctic Sea Ice Conditions in Spring 2009-2013 Prior to Melt Geophys. Res. Lett. 40 (22): 5888-5893 [10.1002/2013GL058011]

Connor, L., 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 Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 51 (4): 2188-2200 [10.1109/TGRS.2012.2211603]

Onana, V., N. Kurtz, S. Farrell, et al. L. Koenig, M. Studinger, and J. Harbeck. 2013. A Sea-Ice Lead Detection Algorithm for Use With High-Resolution Airborne Visible Imagery IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 51 (1): 38-56 [10.1109/TGRS.2012.2202666]

McAdoo, D., S. Farrell, S. Laxon, et al. A. Ridout, H. Zwally, and D. Yi. 2013. Gravity of the Arctic Ocean from satellite data with validations using airborne gravimetry: Oceanographic implications Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 118 (2): 917-930 [10.1002/jgrc.20080]

Kurtz, N., S. Farrell, M. Studinger, et al. 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 (4): 1035–1056 [10.5194/tc-7-1035-2013]

Laxon, S., K. Giles, A. Ridout, et al. D. Wingham, R. Willatt, R. Cullen, R. Kwok, J. Zhang, C. Haas, S. Hendricks, R. Krishfield, N. T. Kurtz, S. L. Farrell, and M. Davidson. 2013. CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume Geophysical Research Letters 40 (4): 732-737 [10.1002/grl.50193]

Farrell, S. L., N. T. Kurtz, L. Connor, et al. B. Elder, C. Leuschen, T. Markus, D. C. McAdoo, B. Panzer, J. Richter-Menge, and J. G. Sonntag. 2012. A First Assessment of IceBridge Snow and Ice Thickness Data Over Arctic Sea Ice IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 50 (6): 2098-2111 [10.1109/TGRS.2011.2170843]

Farrell, S., D. McAdoo, S. Laxon, et al. H. Zwally, D. Yi, A. Ridout, and K. Giles. 2012. Mean dynamic topography of the Arctic Ocean Geophysical Research Letters 39 (1): L01601 [10.1029/2011GL050052]

Kurtz, N., and S. Farrell. 2011. Large-scale surveys of snow depth on Arctic sea ice from Operation IceBridge Geophysical Research Letters 38 (20): L20505 [10.1029/2011GL049216]

Kurtz, N., T. Markus, S. Farrell, D. Worthen, and L. 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 (C4): C04015 [10.1029/2010JC006235]

Farrell, S., T. Markus, R. Kwok, and L. Connor. 2011. Laser Altimetry Sampling Strategies over Sea Ice Ann Glaciol 52 (57): 69-76

Abdalati, W., H. J. Zwally, R. A. Bindschadler, et al. B. Csatho, S. L. Farrell, H. Fricker, D. Harding, R. Kwok, M. Lefsky, T. Markus, A. Marshak, T. A. Neumann, S. Palm, B. Schutz, B. Smith, and C. Spinhirne. 2010. The ICESat-2 Laser Altimetry Mission Proc. IEEE 98 (5): 735-751 [10.1109/JPROC.2009.2034765]

Farrell, S., S. Laxon, D. 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 (C4): C04008 [10.1029/2008JC005074]

McAdoo, D., S. Farrell, S. Laxon, et al. H. Zwally, D. Yi, and A. Ridout. 2008. Arctic Ocean gravity field derived from ICESat and ERS-2 altimetry: Tectonic implications J Geophys Res 113 (B5): B05408 [10.1029/2007JB005217]