MT4XD-Remote Sensing Methods and Applications

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: MT24B Atmospheric Physics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: MT37D Remote Sensing Methods and Applications
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Nicolas Bellouin


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module shows how to obtain information about the atmosphere using electromagnetic waves. In the first half of the course, we will consider how absorption, scattering and emission processes can used to quantify various atmospheric properties using satellites and ground-based instruments. In the second half of the course, we will study how radar and lidar instruments provide information about precipitation and clouds.


This module aims to develop an understanding of the principles of remote sensing of the atmosphere from space and from the ground

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module the student should able to:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the accuracy and sampling limitations of various satellite sounding systems;

  • Demonstrate an understanding of which parts of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used for remote sensing from space;

  • Assess the accuracy and limits of passive sounding from space;

  • Analyse the capability of ground and space-based radar and lidar systems for sensing precipitation, clouds and aerosols;

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the state-of-the-art in remote sensing techniques;

  • Perform a literature review of recent advances in remote sensing instrumentation and methods.

This module will be assessed to a greater depth than the 3rd –year module MT37D.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Satellite orbits and platforms. Radiation concepts for remote sensing. Temperature sounding by infra-red and microwave techniques. Limb and nadir viewing techniques. Measurement of precipitation, clouds and aerosols using radar and lidar from the ground and from space.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be twenty 50-minute lecture classes. Each weekly lecture is a mix of theory, where we learn how a given physical process and used to interpret remote sensing measurements, and applications, where we work together on concrete applications of the theory.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One 1.5 hour paper requiring answers to two questions out of three.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework 1 worth 10% Coursework 2 worth 20%.

Formative assessment methods:

Each weekly lecture includes problems solved together. These provide practice for both the course assessments and the exam.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Resit examination paper only, in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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