Satellites and acid oceans (audio)

With climate change and the talks in Copenhagen dominating the news right now, we find out how satellites have revolutionised our understanding of climate change.

They provide a completely different perspective on how planet Earth works, which was impossible before the satellite revolution 30 years ago.

Today, satellites give researchers a huge range of information about the planet, including where deforestation occurs, how ice has changed in the polar regions, the temperature of the land and oceans, how ocean currents are changing and much more.

The National Centre for Earth Observation at the University of Reading leads the way when it comes to satellite data. Sue Nelson meets the director of the centre, Professor Alan O’Neill, to find out how scientists use this data and what they do to minimise any errors it contains.

Next in the programme, we move from satellites to the sea and find out how increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are acidifying the oceans. Richard Hollingham talks to ocean acidification experts Dr Ian Joint and Dr Jack Gilbert at Plymouth Marine Laboratory to find out how the acidity of the oceans has changed in the last three decades and what this means for ocean life.


PlanetEarth online, Natural Environment Research council, 30 November 2009. Full article and audio.

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