Global Environmental Change

Module code: 003GS
Level 6
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Practical, Seminar, Fieldwork
Assessment modes: Report, Coursework

Environmental change has become a central global issue with serious implications for the social and natural world. There is a need to monitor the earth's signs of change, especially where ground information is spatially limited, filled with error, or unavailable. Remote sensing datasets are vital in monitoring local, regional and global changes.

This module enables you to understand and use remote-sensing datasets to answer fundamental questions about our changing planet. This will involve:

  • understanding the nature of remote sensing
  • the different instruments and techniques and processing and manipulation of raw signals
  • applying it to different fields within the earth and environmental sciences (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere).

Remote Sensing in the atmosphere is used for weather monitoring, greenhouse gas detection, and pollution. Remote sensing in the cryosphere is used in determining the presence, absence and change of ice cover over the earth's surface. Remote sensing in the hydrosphere monitors the oceans, organic and inorganic ocean constituents, sea surface temperatures, el nino events, land water fluxes, and flooding events. Remote Sensing in the biosphere monitors the component of the earth that supports life, and is sensitive to changes in climate, such as vegetation structure, composition, land cover types, soil moisture, leaf chemical components, phenology, change detection, plant stress and photosynthesis, transpiration and surface temperatures.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understanding differing remote sensing technologies and data characteristics.
  • Understand how remote sensing can be used to answer scientific questions on the environment and climate change.
  • Prepare and analyse digital data using ArcGIS and Matlab.
  • Analyse and evaluate current debates in remote sensing science.