Lecture 23- Remote Sensing and the Greenhouse Effect

David Sandwell

Reading - Blue Planet p. 49-57 and p. 477-484

What do you see when you heat a block of tungsten to say 2000 C?

Why is it sometimes best to study the Earth from a satellite?

Why is CO2 called a greenhouse gas?

Why could the temperature of the Earth rise when fossil fuels are burned?


Most of the information gathered by remote sensing satellites could be obtained by other means. For example if one wanted to measure sea surface temperatures across the Gulf Stream between Bermuda and New York, one could make the measurements from a cruise ship or aircraft. However, if one wanted to measure sea surface temperature across the Antarctic Circumpolar current then a satellite becomes a more viable platform. So the main advantages of satellite remote sensing are:

Of course the main disadvantages are the high cost of a satellite system, the many years it takes to develop and launch a satellite and the possibility of a launch or system failure.

System Classification

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David Sandwell