Space Explorers

Learn how we use satellites in space to observe our planet and discover why this is important.

SST January 2006 average

 

Why do we observe the Earth from Space?

One of the best places, possibly THE best place, to monitor our planet is from high up in space. Here, satellite instruments can monitor almost the entire Earth and in some cases can provide coverage of the entire globe in 10 days*. Areas that are inaccessible to ground-based instruments can be viewed by space-based sensors and the coverage from satellite instruments is so consistent in accuracy and completeness that it cannot be matched by ground-based observations. Now that space-based instruments have been flying on Earth-orbiting satellites for 30+ years it has given scientists a long enough supply of data to see how our climate has been changing over that time. Scientists have called the most important physical parameters on our planet 'Essential Climate Variables' or 'ECV's. ECV's include Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Land Surface Temperature (LST), Sea Level (SL) and Ozone - and but there are many more.

 

Space ConneXions Limited has worked closely with scientists who collect and analyse SST data taken from Earth Observing Satellites as well as in-situ shipborne radiometers (which are predominantly used to validate the accuracy and stability of the satellite data). Because of this, we have seen how the sea surface temperature has risen over the past 30 years and understand what this means for the Earth's climate and for future generations. Because it is so important, we thought that we would create some material to help teachers inform their students on this important topic in a fun and informative way.

 

Educational Teaching Packs

As well as online information, educational packs are available to download via the links below (TBD). We have worked closely with primary school teachers to create educational packs that work within the framework of STEM learning in the UK curriculum. The first Educational pack covers Sea Surface Temperature. It includes facts and figures, an explanation of how the pack fits into the national curriculum and activities for both students and teachers (with answers!).

Click here to download the SST Educational Pack (coming soon).

Click here to find out more about Measuring Sea Surface Temperature.

A good place to find out more about observing our planet from space is the ESA Earth Observation page.

*for example, the Sentinel-2 ESA-mission provides a global coverage of the Earth's land surface every 10 days with one satellite and 5 days with 2 satellites.