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The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space

Learn how the Greenland ice sheet is monitored from space and the ground, to understand our past, present and future climate.

2,375 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Discover how climate change is impacting the Greenland Ice Sheet

Made up of layers of compressed snow from over the last 100,000 years, the vast Greenland ice sheet acts as both a valuable record of our past climate and a bellwether for future climate change.

This online course highlights how the Greenland ice sheet is monitored from space and the ground. You’ll look at the measurements made possible by Earth Observation (EO) satellites like Cryosat, the technologies and techniques involved, the data generated, and its uses and challenges.

You’ll also explore the role of ice in the climate system, and the impact of climate change on the Greenland ice sheet.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Satellite Earth Observation technology, terminology and the types of data products available when monitoring ice sheets
  • Understanding the unique measurements of ice thickness and dynamics which satellite data can provide
  • How to access process and work with Earth observation data and ice sheet measuring tools
  • The use of Earth observation data in a range of scientific, policy and decision-making areas, in conjunction with models

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explore how we observe and measure ice sheets in situ and from satellites
  • Explore the operational elements of satellite missions like Cryosat, which monitor the Greenland ice sheet
  • Understand the complexity of the dynamics involved in melting ice sheet systems
  • Data processing methods from Cryosat and other satellite missions
  • Investigate how satellite data models enable a complete picture of changes in the ice sheet and how this is used in policy decision making

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.

Although the ‘live’ run of the course has now ended, new enrolments for this run will remain open until 11th November 2017, so if you have friends or colleagues who may be interested in accessing this course, do let them know.

Those of you who would like to learn more about satellite Earth Observation may also be interested in the upcoming re-runs of the ESA Earth Observation from Space: the Optical View course (4th September), and the EUMETSAT Monitoring The Oceans from Space course (16th October). Both courses are now open for enrolment on FutureLearn.

Who will you learn with?

Director, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). Leading glaciologist and expert on climate change.

Who developed the course?

European Space Agency

ESA is a world leader in Earth observation from space, using satellites and novel techniques to ‘take the pulse of our planet’.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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