Global change - a data-driven approach

  Various satellite images of the earth on climate change Copyright: © PGG RWTH Aachen

Topic description and motivation

Within the framework of different global Earth observation missions of the ESA, the EU, the NASA as well as other nations, a large amount of information about the state of the continents, the oceans and the atmosphere has been freely available for a few years. This includes, for example, information on changes in land cover, the extent of glaciers, the spatial extent of deserts, the state of vegetation, ocean temperature, spatial changes in sea level, and also near real-time data on the state and composition of the atmosphere. The data often have high temporal and spatial resolution.

During the Summer School, students will learn to use these data to better understand current climate change and quantify rates of change. In addition to a basic introduction to climate and climate change and past climate trends, the main focus will be on identifying and using data sources. Students will work independently on small projects to download and process the data statistically and graphically, as well as scientifically analyze the data in small group projects.

A preliminary program

  • Block 1 (1.5 days): Block 1 serves as an introduction to the topic. Here, the focus is on the various aspects of climate change and its causes, but also on basic methodological aspects of remote sensing as well as data processing in the Google Earth Engine and programming in JavaScript. This first block consists of short lecture blocks and intermediate seminars.
  • Block 2 (2.5 days): Practical exercises on programming in JavaScript in the Google Earth Engine.
  • Block 3 (1 day): Here, students develop their own questions in small groups of three. Possible topics may include: Increase in flooding, global greening, spread of deserts, changes in land use, growth of cities, changes in atmospheric composition but also changes in atmospheric composition during the Corona pandemic. The developed topics will then be presented and discussed in short pitches.
  • Block 4: Independent development of the selected topics. Preparation of a short scientific text and presentation.
  • Block 5 (1 day): final conference with presentation by the small groups and discussion.

Participant profile

Students from all disciplines from the third semester onwards are welcome.

Maximum number of participants: 18


Block 1 to 3: digital as a full-day block course from 27.09.21 to 01.10.21
Block 5: presence, full day on 15.10.21

Further information

Organizer: Chair of Physical Geography and Geoecology

Coordinator: PD Dr. rer nat. Georg Stauch

Maximum number of participants: 18

Participant profile: All students from the 3rd semester onwards

Language: English