Week 1: Observing Climate Change from Space

9 topics

What is Earth observation? How do you observe the Earth with satellites? What is the added value of the view from space? This week aims to introduce you to the basic concepts of how earth observation data is acquired from satellites, the underlying science that enables this and what it can help us to do.

Course introduction

An introduction video giving a quick overview on Earth observation satellites and their use, and what people can get out of the course.

Topic 1a - What is Earth Observation?

This video will introduce you to some of the basic principles of Earth observation and why viewing our planet from space is so important.

Topic 1b - The advantage of looking from space

This video highlights some of the important, overarching observations enabled by monitoring the Earth from space.

Topic 1c - How do you observe the Earth with satellites?

In this video, Professor Martin Wooster will guide you through some of the basic principles used to observe the Earth from space.

Topic 1d - The importance of EO in climate policy and planning

This video explains why Earth observation is essential in climate policy and planning

Topic 1e - Types of climate observation from space

This video provides a range of examples of the types of climate-related observations now being made from Space

Topic 1f - Essential Climate Variables and Megatrends

In this video Dr Stephen Briggs introduces the concept of Essential Climate Variables and ESA’s Climate Change Initiative

How EO data supports UN COP climate negotiations

In this video, four leading scientists on climate science and policy discuss the crucial role of satellite Earth observation data in supporting international climate negotiations, including the COP21 climate summit

Week 1 Interactive exercise

The interactive exercise for week 1

Week 2: Techniques and Technology - Part 1

8 topics

The methods and technologies for observing and accumulating evidence about climate change, its impacts and solutions.

Topic 2a - Overview of types of missions, instrumentation and data

This video introduces the ESA Sentinels and the Copernicus programme, along with a range of other recent and current Earth observation missions

Topic 2b - Looking at the atmosphere

This video will introduce you to some of the ways in which we can assess atmospheric properties using EO data collected by satellites.

Topic 2c - Atmosphere: applications

This video will introduce you to the Monitoring Atmospheric Climate and Composition (MACC) project.

Topic 2d - Atmosphere: In-depth case study - Monitoring GHGs and aerosols

This video will explore how satellite data relating to the composition of Earth’s atmosphere is enabling us to run increasingly detailed atmospheric models, and what this can mean for policy.

Topic 2e - Looking at land

In this video Dr Mathias Disney explains some of the challenges of observing the land surface from space

Topic 2f - Land: Applications

This video looks at the role of land surface vegetation in the carbon cycle, and introduces some other highly important properties of the land surface that we can now assess fairly routinely from Space.

Topic 2g - Land: in-depth Case Study - Measuring Biomass

This topic looks at monitoring the distribution of plant biomass from satellites for studying the carbon cycle, and its relation to climate.

Week 2 interactive exercise

Week 2 interactive exercise

Week 3: Techniques and Technology - Part 2

9 topics

Ways of looking - part 2. Ocean and Ice.

Ocean Monitoring from Space - Introduction from Professor Anny Cazenave

A special introduction video on the role of satellite technology in monitoring the world’s oceans by Professor Anny Cazenave.

Topic 3a - Looking at Our Oceans

This video explains the importance of monitoring the oceans from space and provides an overview of the types of data that we can gather.

Topic 3b - Oceans: Applications

In this video Dr Helen Snaith highlights the importance of measuring and monitoring the state of the ocean from space, focusing in particular on ocean circulation and currents

Topic 3c - Oceans: in-depth Case Study - Ocean Colour

This video explores why it is so important to monitor phytoplankton distribution from space using the technique of ‘ocean colour’ remote sensing, and provides an overview of how this is achieved using satellite technology.

Ice Monitoring from Space - Introduction from Professor Konrad Steffen

Professor Konrad presents a special introduction to the role of satellite technology in monitoring the cryosphere.

Topic 3d - Looking at Ice

In this video Professor Andrew Shepherd explains the importance of monitoring the cryosphere from space, and introduces the range of satellite microwave techniques. Professor Shepherd also explores some of the first highly detailed datasets that CryoSat-2 has collected.

Topic 3e - Ice: Applications

This video highlights the relationship between climate change and sea level rise, and shows how measurements from satellites help us assess the cryospheric contributions to sea level.

Topic 3f - Ice: In-depth Case Study - Monitoring Ice Thickness

In this video, Professor Andrew Shepherd explores how improvements in Earth observation technology are increasingly advancing our ability to make accurate measurements of ice thickness and volume in the polar regions.

Week 3 interactive exercise

Week 3 interactive exercise

Week 4: Earth Observation in Action

7 topics

How EO data is used in policy and decision-making in climate resilience, adaptation and mitigation, and in sustainable development

Topic 4a - Resilience and Adaptation: Monitoring Coastal Zones

In this video, Dr Simon Boxall introduces the importance of Earth observation to coastal zone policy and planning, while Dr Helen Snaith explores the ESA’s eSurge programme.

Topic 4b - Historical Policy Case Study: CFCs and The Montreal Protocol

In this video, Dr Angela Benedetti highlights the importance of past and current stratospheric ozone observations, and explores the key role of Earth observation.

Topic 4c - Recent Policy Case Study: the REDD+ programme

In this video, Dr Stephen Briggs and Dr Kirsten Barrett explore how and why EO satellites are vital to both the development and success of the REDD+ initiative.

Topic 4d - Biodiversity and Resource Management

In this video, Dr Nathalie Pettorelli explains how Earth observation can be applied to the protection of biodiversity, and explores how satellites provide the necessary information upon which scientists, conservationists and decision makers can act.

Topic 4e - Monitoring Major Climate Events: El Niño, Hurricanes and SST

In this video, Professor Chris Merchant explores the patterns apparent in both global and regional SST data.

Topic 4f - Evidence Based Policy: Predicting Future Sea Level Rise

In this video, Professor Andrew Shepherd explores a range of satellite-derived datasets.

Week 4 interactive exercise

Week 4 interactive exercise

Week 5: Managing EO data: Current Methods and Future Challenges

6 topics

How is ESA’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI) vital in supporting the monitoring of the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs)?

Topic 5a - ESA Climate Change Initiative

In this video, we explore how ESA’s CCI is advancing our understanding of climate-related changes associated with a number of ECVs.

Topic 5b - Climate Models and Data Assimilation

In this video, Dr Melanie Ades explains some of the aspects of how weather or climate models and data are used to build simulations of the Earth system that can provide the most reliable forecasts.

Topic 5c - Data Validation Case Study: Monitoring Emissions From Fires

In this video, Professor Martin Wooster explains the importance and some of the basic principles of EO validation activities

Topic 5d - Big Data, Crowd Sourcing and Citizen Science

In this video, Professor Chris Lintott explains the importance of citizen science initiatives and introduces Zooniverse’s ‘Floating Forests’.

Topic 5e - Recap of Course Themes: The Evolving Role of EO

In this final video of the course, some of the course educators and leading experts who have taken us through the range of topics, now provide a brief re-cap of key themes from the course.

Week 5 Interactive Exercise

Week 5 Interactive Exercise