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Online course

Monitoring Climate from Space

Explore our planet from space and learn how Earth observation is used to monitor climate change, with this free online course.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Monitoring Climate from Space

Why join the course?

Satellite Earth Observation technology provides a powerful and compelling insight into climate change which can help to underpin climate policy, scientific research and public engagement. But how does this technology work, and how can it achieve the essential detail and comprehensive worldwide view that we need?

Join Lead Educator Professor Martin Wooster and leading climate experts such as Professor Konrad Steffen, Professor Anny Cazenave, Dr Stephen Briggs and Dr Emily Shuckburgh as they reveal the perspective provided by satellite Earth observation. The course is free and fully flexible - you can progress in step with other learners week by week, or take the course entirely at your own pace, with all materials available indefinitely once you have registered.

The ‘live run’ of the course, allowing you to interact with experts and other learners, will continue until 28th August 2016, and you can register any time up to that date. You can also view and share some ‘highlights’ from the course without registering, using the links at the bottom of this page. This film, the course trailer above and a small selection of other videos are also available with Spanish and Chinese subtitles. Just click on the small pink square in the video controls to select your preferred language.

Introducing Earth observation

Seeing the Earth from space allows us to gain this global perspective. By using Earth observation techniques, we can now monitor global environmental change on a scale that has never before been possible.

Earth observation has not only revolutionised the way we perceive our home, but changed the way we understand our profound impact on the environment. This technology has brought on a transformation in the way we observe, monitor and study our planet.

Learn with experts from ESA and leading European research centres

In this free online course, you will join leading experts and scientists from ESA and key European research centres, to explore the science that underpins Earth observation.

We will look at recent and current satellite missions that are providing an archive of essential data; and find out how this data is used in local and international policy and planning.

The course consists of five themed weeks:

Week 1 - Observing Climate Change from Space

What is Earth observation? How do we observe the Earth with satellites? And what role does Earth observation play in climate policy and planning?

Weeks 2 & 3 - Earth Observation Techniques and Technology

How do we use different types of mission, instrumentation and data to study changes to our atmosphere, land, oceans and ice?

Week 4 - Earth Observation in Action

How does Earth observation help us set policy; plan for climate risk, resilience and adaptation; and manage resources and biodiversity?

Week 5 - Managing Earth Observation Data

How do we make sense of the large amount of data produced by Earth observation? Can crowdsourcing and citizen science play a role in developing climate change models?

The lead presenters on this course are: Professor Martin Wooster, King’s College London; Dr Mathias Disney, University College London; Dr Emily Shuckburgh, British Antarctic Survey; Professor Andy Shepherd, University of Leeds. Further expert insight is provided by Professor Alan O’Neill, University of Reading.

Other contributors for the course include: Professor Konrad Steffen, WSL; Professor Anny Cazenave, LEGOS & ISSI; Dr Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, ESA; Dr Stephen Briggs, ESA; Dr Angela Benedetti, ECMWF; Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL; Professor Chris Merchant, University of Reading; Dr Melanie Ades, University of Reading; Dr Helen Snaith, BODC (NOC); Dr Stephanie Henson, NOC; Dr Simon Boxall, University of Southampton; Dr Paolo Cipollini, NOC; Professor Chris Lintott, University of Oxford; Dr Kirsten Barrett, University of Leicester.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

The course consisted of five themed weeks:

Week 1 - Observing Climate Change from Space

  • What is Earth observation?
  • How we observe the Earth with satellites.
  • The role of Earth observation in climate policy and planning

Weeks 2 & 3 - Earth Observation Techniques and Technology

  • How different types of mission, instrumentation and data are used to study changes to our atmosphere, land, oceans and ice.

Week 4 - Earth Observation in Action

  • How Earth observation helps us to: set policy; plan for climate risk, resilience and adaptation; and manage resources and biodiversity.

Week 5 - Managing Earth Observation Data

  • How we make sense of the large amounts of data produced by Earth observation.
  • The role of crowdsourcing and citizen science in developing climate change models.
  • Future trends in Earth observation technology.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Interpret and use satellite Earth observation data used in monitoring climatic and environmental change
  • Assess how Earth observation data can be used in climate policy and decision making
  • Describe how satellite data is used to observe and measure the Earth
  • Describe how satellite Earth observation data is used in climate models

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for people who want to learn more about Earth observation, climate change and monitoring climate from space. The course can also help decision makers, policy makers, educators and communicators, to gain a better insight into how satellite data can help them assess the state of our climate and its changes, in order to support climate science, and adaptation and mitigation decisions.

Who will you learn with?

Martin Wooster

Martin Wooster is Professor of Earth Observation Science in the Dept. of Geography, King's College London (UK), and a Divisional Director of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

Alan O'Neill

Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading and the former Director of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation.

Andrew Shepherd

Director of the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling and Principal Scientific Advisor to the European Space Agency's CryoSat satellite mission
@AndyShep_CPOM

Emily Shuckburgh

Climate scientist and Head of the Open Oceans research group at the British Antarctic Survey. I am also an associate of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research.

Mathias Disney

I'm a scientist, interested in vegetation, carbon and climate. I use satellite observations, 3D models and measurements to try and understand these processes.

Who developed the course?

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. With over 20 Member States, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £49.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: