Online course

Monitoring Atmospheric Composition

The composition of our atmosphere is vital for life. Find out how we keep track of it, and what we’re doing to protect it.

Explore the technologies we use to observe, measure and forecast the atmosphere

The composition of our planet’s atmosphere is a delicate balance - even the slightest changes could be catastrophic.

Join EUMETSAT and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF to discover the space, air and ground-based technologies we use to monitor and forecast the atmosphere.

You’ll explore the critical threats affecting the atmosphere and its composition - and how these affect human health, climate change and the ecosystem.

You’ll also see how this all informs policy and international agreements, plus the extensive work needed to predict change and maintain air quality.

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Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsWelcome to this course on monitoring atmospheric composition. We live down here at the bottom of the atmosphere, but this enormous reservoir of air above us, even though it's invisible, matters to us. It's part of our life support system.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsWe're all taught at school that the atmosphere is mostly nitrogen and oxygen, but mixed in with there are tiny quantities of particles and trace gases. And it's all moving, flowing over mountains and oceans and buildings and roads. It's a dynamic system. And together, the movements and the composition form a balance. And as we learn about that balance, we're also learning about how we're starting to change it and how that may harm our lives and our society.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 secondsUntil the past few decades, we've mostly just looked up and through the atmosphere. But now, there are new technologies that allow us to look into the atmosphere to collect data and to measure and to see in that data what we can't see just by looking directly into the air, which is how the composition of the atmosphere is influencing our lives.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 secondsThis course is about that data, where it comes from, who measures it, what it means, and what opportunities it offers our society for the future. We'll meet the organizations who are collecting and curating that data, at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service and EUMETSAT.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 secondsThe ever-growing flood of data that's coming down from the sky is in impressive detail and in real time. And that doesn't just mean more science, it means direct benefits for public health with governments, for businesses, for citizens. And this course is about opening the door to all of those possibilities.

What topics will you cover?

Explore how we observe and measure the atmosphere with satellites, ground-based and other forms of in-situ measurements

Understand the importance of satellite observations and other forms of measurements for atmospheric monitoring

Investigate how atmospheric data is used in policy and decision-making, in a range of arenas, in conjunction with models

Recognise the importance of the data for monitoring long-range transportation of pollutants in the atmosphere

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
    This course started 5 November 2018

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore how we observe and measure the atmosphere with satellites, ground-based and other forms of in-situ measurements
  • Understand the importance of satellite observations and other forms of measurements for atmospheric monitoring
  • Investigate how atmospheric data is used in policy and decision-making, in a range of arenas, in conjunction with models
  • Recognise the importance of the data for monitoring long-range transportation of pollutants in the atmosphere

Who is the course for?

This course would suit policy / decision makers, journalists, educators, business owners, and students. It may also appeal to a curious, general interest audience, or professionals who possess some experience in the subject.

Who will you learn with?

Rosemary Munro

I am an Atmospheric Composition Mission Scientist at EUMETSAT, Europe's weather and climate satellite organisation.

Helen Czerski

Physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster, based at UCL. Presenter of the Monitoring the Oceans from Space MOOC.

Mark Parrington

I am a senior scientist working on wildfires and atmospheric composition for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) at ECMWF, based in the UK.

Who developed the course?

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is Europe’s operational satellite agency monitoring the weather and climate.

CAMS is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ECMWF on behalf of the European Commission.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is an independent intergovernmental organisation, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions.

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What's included?

EUMETSAT are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible