Global Environmental Change (003GS)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

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.


59%: Practical (Fieldwork, Practical)
41%: Seminar


40%: Coursework (Presentation, Report)
60%: Written assessment (Report)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 38 hours of contact time and about 262 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: