Remote sensing is the process of acquiring information about an object or phenomenon using a device that is not in contact with it. Contemporary remote sensing involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data describing electromagnetic radiation that is either reflected or emitted from an object. In recent decades remote sensing technologies have dramatically improved our understanding of how the earth functions as a biophysical system. In this course we will first examine the physical basis of remote sensing, and then deepen our understanding by exploring data from a wide range of sources. Our investigations will include a series of case studies that utilize imagery acquired over small areas using drones, as well as satellite data covering entire continents that is processed using cloud-based tools. We will also consider the ethical implications of remote sensing. Students who successfully complete this seminar will satisfy the Scientific Perspective core requirement.
Professor Loranty is a physical geographer who studies ecosystem carbon and water cycling in the Arctic. In his research he utilizes field measurements, satellite observations, and environmental models to understand how arctic tundra and boreal forests respond to climate change.