Chris Derksen

Research Scientist - Cryosphere and Climate Interaction
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Current research and/or projects

Develop new knowledge on the state, variability, and change in the cryosphere, including the role in the climate system

  • Retrieval of information on the cryosphere from airborne and satellite remote sensing
  • Application of satellite datasets to climatological, hydrological, and modelling studies of the cryosphere
  • Field studies of the properties and distribution of high latitude snow cover

Professional activities / interests

Principal Investigator, “Concept study for a satellite radar mission for terrestrial snow mass”. Canadian Space Agency.

Principal Investigator and Steering Committee Member, “Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution (CanSISE)” NSERC Climate Change and Atmospheric Research network

Co-chair, Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP-6) "Land Surface, Snow and Soil Moisture Model Intercomparison Project (LS3MIP)"

Advisor on terrestrial freeze/thaw product development  to the NASA SMAP Science Team

Editorial board member, Remote Sensing of Environment

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing

Education and awards

Ph.D. Geography, University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal Award: Outstanding Academic Performance

Key publications

Mudryk, L., C. Derksen, P. Kushner, and R. Brown. 2015. Characterization of Northern Hemisphere snow water equivalent datasets, 1981–2010. Journal of Climate. 28: 8037-8051.

Derksen, C., J. Lemmetyinen, P. Toose, A. Silis, J. Pulliainen, and M. Sturm. 2014. Physical properties of Arctic versus subarctic snow: Implications for high latitude passive microwave snow water equivalent retrievals. Journal of Geophysical Research. 119(12): 7254–7270 10.1002/2013JD021264.

Derksen, C., and R. Brown. 2012. Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections. Geophysical Research Letters. 39: L19504 doi:10.1029/2012GL053387

Derksen, C., S. L. Smith; M. Sharp; L. Brown; S. Howell; L. Copland; D. R. Mueller; Y. Gauthier; C. Fletcher; A. Tivy; M. Bernier; J. Bourgeois; R. Brown; C. R. Burn; C. Duguay; P. Kushner; A. Langlois; A. G. Lewkowicz; A. Royer; A. Walker. 2012. Variability and Change in the Canadian Cryosphere. Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0470-0.

Derksen, C., P. Toose, J. Lemmetyinen, J. Pulliainen, A.Langlois, N. Rutter and M. Fuller. 2012. Evaluation of passive microwave brightness temperature simulations and snow water equivalent retrievals through a winter season. Remote Sensing of Environment. 117: 236–248.

Derksen, C., P. Toose, A. Rees, L. Wang, M. English, A. Walker, and M. Sturm. 2010. Development of a tundra-specific snow water equivalent retrieval algorithm for satellite passive microwave data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 114: 1699-1709.

Brown, R., C. Derksen, and L. Wang. 2010. A multi-dataset analysis of variability and change in Arctic spring snow cover extent, 1967-2008. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1029/2010JD013975.

Derksen, C., M. Sturm, G. Liston, J. Holmgren, H. Huntington, A. Silis, and D. Solie. 2009. Northwest Territories and Nunavut snow characteristics from a sub-Arctic traverse: Implications for passive microwave remote sensing. Journal of Hydrometeorology. 10(2): 448-463.


Adjunct Faculty, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo