Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

NSIDC Cryosphere Seminar

Leveraging Automation for Sea Ice Mapping with Dr. Macarena Ortiz

Warming conditions in the Arctic are leading to a more ice-free regime, thus allowing for increased activity in the region. This in turn puts more pressure on organizations like the United States National Ice Center (NIC), who provide the U.S. Government with daily and weekly sea ice charts for maritime safety of navigation and maritime-domain awareness. In order to aid with the ever increasing frequent updates, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), in partnership with the NIC, has been actively collaborating and developing Research and Development (R&D) programs which exploit machine learning and computer vision to enhance and facilitate the ice analyst workflow.  In this talk, we present the technological advancements the NGA and the NIC are developing and adopting in order to meet the current and future demands of a changing Arctic.

Brief bio:  Macarena Ortiz (Mac) is a research and development scientist and program manager at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA).  At NGA, Mac leads R&D programs involving remote sensing and automation, with a focus on the cryosphere. Prior to her work at NGA, she completed a Post-doc at NASA Langley Research Center, working with the climate and radiation branch on a project to merge machine learning techniques with climate reanalysis models. Mac got her PhD in applied physics from the University of Miami, where her doctoral work focused on using machine-learning methods to remotely sense the Arctic marginal ice zone. She grew up in New York City, has two Persian cats, and has lived in the Arctic.



From a computer:

Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16465588656,,5409618610# 

Or Telephone: US: +1 646 558 8656 , Meeting ID: 540 961 8610

International numbers available:


Thursday, February 25, 2021
11:00 am to 12:00 pm





  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public



Mistia Zuckerman