GEOG 271: Earth from Space Using Remote Sensing

This course provides an introduction to the basic scientific principles involved in remote sensing, and some of the applications to studies of the Earth’s surface. It includes an examination of the basic physics of electromagnetic radiation and the complex interactions of radiation with the surface and atmosphere (i.e. spectral signatures). Theoretical concepts and examples covered in the lectures provide the basis for examining various remote sensing applications using data obtained in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Applications include uses of satellite remote sensing data for mapping and monitoring vegetation, soils and minerals, snow and ice, water resources and quality, and urban landscapes. The laboratory section includes hands-on experience with the Geomatica© image analysis software package, the Next ESA SAR Toolbox (NEST), and various satellite-image data sets.

GEOG 316: Multivariate Statistics

Specialists in the environmental sciences (e.g. geography, hydrology, ecology, atmospheric science) have to deal with a wide range of data. Multivariate statistical techniques are particularly well suited for analyzing many types of data (variables) simultaneously. This course provides students with a foundation in the fundamentals of multivariate analysis, and practical experience of applying those techniques to problems in the environmental sciences.

GEOG 419: The Cryosphere

The cryosphere collectively describes elements of the earth system containing water in its frozen state and includes ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, solid precipitation, freshwater (lake and river) ice, as well as seasonally frozen ground and permafrost. The cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system with important linkages and feedbacks operating through its influence on energy, moisture and gas fluxes.

This course provides a physical introduction to the cryosphere and cryosphere-climate interactions. Topics covered include the material and thermodynamic properties of snow and ice, the role of the cryosphere in the climate system, and the response of the cryosphere to climate change (past, present and future). Students are introduced to, and get the opportunity to experiment with, snow and ice process models.

GEOG 602: Remote Sensing of Cold Regions

Cold regions of the globe (both in northern and southern hemispheres), with their vast and varied landscapes, sparse population, and harsh climate have always challenged its explorers: physically, mentally, logistically, and technically. The scientific community in particular has known such challenges in the past and does so today, especially in light of the projected intensification of climate change at high latitudes. Indeed, there are clear signs that change is already ongoing in many environmental variables: Air temperature and annual precipitation (including snowfall) are increasing in many regions; spring snow cover extent is decreasing; lake and river ice freeze-up dates are occurring later and break-up dates earlier; glaciers are retreating rapidly; permafrost temperatures are increasing and, in many cases, the permafrost is thawing; and sea-ice extent is at record minimums and thinning.

This graduate course focuses on the extraction of climatologically/hydrologically-relevant parameters from remote sensing that are germane to cold regions, such as snow cover, glaciers/ice caps/ice sheets, lake/river ice, and frozen ground/permafrost. It also covers the determination of surface water (e.g. area and height), which has become a topic of much interest in the last few years in the context of the impact of climate warming at high northern latitudes.