Importance of Remote Sensing in the Study of Climate Change

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Climate change is one of the most prominent problems facing mankind in the 21st century and remote sensing through space based observation has come to play a more and more important role in the study of climate change since its inception (Cracknell and Varatsos, 2011; Navalgund and Singh, 2011.). Cracknell and Varatsos (2011) says there are two reasons as to why remote sensing plays a vital role in the study of climate change, namely the huge coverage the data provides in terms area which allows studies at a local, regional or global scale and also the temporal coverage of this data as there are now libraries of data covering several decades available. The goal of of remote sensing within the realm of climate change is to provide a reliable scientific grounds for helping establish policies relating to both natural and anthropomorphic induced changes in the Earth's environment (Navalgund and Sing, 2011). Both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) both have space based observation programs dedicated to climate change. The ESA have the Living Planet Program (ESA, 2006; Navalgund and Singh, 2011), with GOCE (Gravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation Explorer) recently completing its mission there now 5 missions operating at the moment in SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity), ADM-Aeolus(Atmospheric Dynamics Mission), CryoSat-2, SWARM and Earth CARE (Earth Clouds Aerosols and Radiation Explorer. Soon the Sentinel series of satellites will also be added to this group ( Malenovsky et al., 2012) with Sentinel-1 due to launch in 2014. Similar to the Living Planet Program NASA have the Earth System Science Pathfinder Program (ESSP) (NASA, 2013; Navalgund and Singh, 2011). Th... ... middle of paper ... ...and Singh, R. P., 2011. Climate Change Studies Using Space Based Observation, Journal of the Indian Society for Remote Sensing, 39(3), pp. 281 - 285. Paul, F., et al., 2013. The glaciers climate change initiative: Methods for creating glacier area, elevation change and velocity products, Remote Sensing of Environment [Online] Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2013.07.043 [Accessed: 30 November 2013] Willis, M., J., Melkonian, A. K., Pritchard, M. E. and Ramage J. M., 2012. Ice loss rates at the Northern Patagonian Icefield derived using a decade of satellite remote sensing, Remote Sensing of the Environment, 117, pp. 184-198. Wulder, M. A., Masek, J. G., Cohen, W. B., Loveland, T. R. and Woodcock, C. E., 2012. Opening the Archive: How free data has enabled the science and monitoring promise of Landsat, Remote Sensing and the Environment, 122, pp. 2-10.

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