Satellite Remote Sensing

course ID





14 Weeks

Semester DD


Course details

Satellite mission concepts: Phases of the mission (from the Users Requirements to the validation of the geophysical products), Space and Ground segment, Products. Space Segment: Orbits of interest, scanning geometries and instrument structure: examples from instruments currently used for remote sensing of atmosphere and ocean. Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere: basic concepts, radiation sources and radiative processes relevant for the applications of interest. Radiative transfer equation: general case and examples of simplified solutions for specific applications. Numerical radiative transfer models and database of optical properties of interest.
Ground Segment and data processing chains: data preprocessing (Q/C's, data screenings), examples of inversion methods (e.g. Look Up Tables, Statistical Inversion methods, etc.) applied to a set of geophysical variables of interest for the description of: the atmosphere (clouds and precipitation, atmospheric structure and composition, dynamical variables, top of atmosphere radiative budget), of the land surface (radiative properties, land use, vegetation properties, surface humidity) and of the ocean (physical properties (SST, SSH and SSS), waves, composition).


Acquire knowledge on the physical processes underlying the remote sensing techniques and on the limitations due to the instrument and the measurement technique. This knowledge is fundamental, not only if the student in the future works in the field of remote sensing, but also in other sectors (eg assimilation of data for meteorological forecasts) in which the data coming from remote sensing techniques are highly used. Students are expected to have consolidate knowledge of atmospheric physics, optics and electromagnetism, and gas spectroscopy.

Students must have an understanding of the main radiative processes underlying remote sensing, inversion techniques and the concept of satellite mission.

Students must be able to understand the technical documentation associated with remote sensing products (eg Algorithm Theoretical Basis Documents ATBDs) processed and distributed by space agencies. They must be able to distinguish, for a given product, limits and uncertainties due to the instrument and the measurement technique, limits due to the physical principle underlying the measurements and assumption / hypotheses adopted in the signal reversal process.

Students must be able to recognize the limitations of a specific remote sensing product. Students must be able to independently perform numerical simulations. Develop the ability to perform bibliographic searches and to select interesting materials, in particular on the WEB. Having achieved an adequate level of ethical awareness in research and in professional activities. These skills are acquired during the study for the preparation of the exams, deepening some specific topics also with the consultation of articles in journals and specific technical documentation.