arctic sea iceDr. Morteza Karimzadeh, assistant professor of Geography at CU Boulder and his collaborators at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and CU Denver’s Department of Computer Science were recently awarded a three-year $1.2M grant by the National Science Foundation1 to support their project ‘Harmonized Earth’. Harmonized Earth is a collaborative research and capabilities development effort for creating algorithms, models, software systems, and cyber-infrastructure for harmonizing heterogeneous big data products (including satellite imagery and in situ observations) in a cloud environment for various downstream tasks. The technologies developed are expected to be extendable to a variety of applications, but for this project, the focus will be on classification and mapping of sea ice.

Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh

Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh

Sea ice is an important component of the climate system and a key indicator of climate change. Sea ice is spatiotemporally dynamic, exhibiting a variety of evolving ice types that need classification for scientific analysis or operational planning. The mapping of sea ice at high spatial and temporal resolutions remains a scientific challenge. With the increasing availability of high-resolution remote sensing products such as synthetic-aperture radar and lidar, there is a renewed desire for tackling this challenge. However, bridging data science and geoscience is key in successfully harnessing these large heterogeneous data for sea ice mapping. This project brings geospatial data scientists, geoscientists, and computer scientists together to tackle this challenge using the state-of-the-art in machine learning and earth observations for seamless data fusion, machine learning and analysis. Harmonized Earth will be integrated into the interoperable environment of NSF EarthCube for maximum adoption and ease of use. 


Earthcube is a growing community of scientists across all geoscience domains, as well as geoinformatics researchers and data scientists. EarthCube started as a joint effort between the NSF Directorate for Geosciences and the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, and has attracted an evolving, dynamic virtual community of more than 2,500 contributors, including earth, ocean, polar, planetary, atmospheric, geospace, computer and social scientists, educators, and data and information professionals. Through this community-driven development, many successful open-source projects have been made available to researchers and practitioners alike, and Harmonized Earth will add earth data fusion and sea ice mapping to the capabilities of EarthCube.

Harmonized Earth is a collaboration between the Principal Investigator Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh (CU Boulder Geography), Andrew Barrett (NSIDC), Walt Meir (NSIDC), Siri Jodha Khalsa (NSIDC) and Farnoush Banaei-Kashani (CU Denver Computer Science). 


1Data Capabilities: Enabling Analysis of Heterogeneous, Multi-source Cryospheric Data, Award #2026962 and Award #2026865