The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space

Professor Konrad Steffen

Former Director & Glaciologist, WSL

Course Description

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.

Learning Outcomes
  • 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.

(This course was also previously available via the FutureLearn platform here)

Professor Konrad Steffen

Former Director & Glaciologist, WSL

Dr Martin Schneebeli

Senior scientist & Snow Physicist, WSL/SLF

Professor Andrew Shepherd

Professor of Earth Observation, University of Leeds

Dr Bianca Perren

Quaternary Paleoecologist, BAS

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