Remote Sensing of the Bio-Geosphere

Course content

This competence-line course teaches state-of the art research of global-scale Earth Observation (EO) of our changing bio-geosphere. The theoretical background for monitoring various components of the bio-geosphere will be discussed during classes and software-based analysis tools will be introduced in a number of practical PC-based hands-on exercises during the course. The course includes an introduction to remote sensing data gateways/data-download, pre-processing and analysis of various state-of-the-art remote sensing satellite systems. Focus will be on theory and methods of optical and thermal infrared remote sensing (physical principles, electromagnetic radiation, atmospheric correction, image processing techniques etc.) and applications hereof. Remote sensing applications cover remote sensing of the marine environment (lake and coastal monitoring, sea surface temperature monitoring, ocean productivity), remote sensing of snow and ice (snow indices, monitoring of glacier/ocean ice), vegetation productivity (vegetation indices, plant water stress, net primary production) and remote sensing of the atmosphere (tropospheric trace gas concentrations). Long term trend analysis and teleconnection studies based upon multi-year datasets are introduced as tools for analysing large-scale ecosystem changes.


MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics with a minor subject


Learning outcome


  • Earth Observation-based time series analysis
  • Satellite Remote Sensing-based changes of the bio-geosphere
  • Advanced geoinformatics



  • Apply correct scientific remote sensing definitions and terminology in written assignments.
  • Description of the atmospheric influence on the remotely sensed signal.
  • Identification, downloading and pre-processing of remote sensing data.
  • Assessment of the statistical significance of long term trends in the various components of the bio-geosphere.
  • Describe the relevance of various remote sensing data types in the discussion of global change studies
  • Understand scientific literature related to the course subjects.



  • Combine knowledge on remote sensing data systems for optimal monitoring of changes in various components of the bio-geosphere.
  • Understanding relevant remote sensing theory and methods for successful remote sensing-based analysis of the marine environment, snow and ice, vegetation productivity and remote sensing of the atmosphere.
  • Discussions of advantages/disadvantages and the complementary use of remote sensing data systems of varying spatial, temporal, spectral and radiometric resolution for global ecosystem monitoring.
  • Independent data collection and analysis for understanding drivers of ecosystem changes using remote sensing software.

The form of teaching is theory exercises combined with ad hoc lectures. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.

Please see Absalon course page.

BSc in Geography and Geoinformatics or equivalent. Experience in basic remote sensing is a prerequisite.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, Ongoing
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure and is without preparation. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Identical to ordinary exam.

The student has the following options:

Is the quality of the written assignment not acceptable, the student can choose to either hand in a new or revised report.

Is the quality of the written assignment acceptable, the student can choose to either hand in a revised report or resubmit the original report from the ordinary exam.

The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
The number of places might be reduced if you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Rasmus Fensholt   (2-80744e77757c3c79833c7279)
Saved on the 16-02-2024

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