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Postgraduate course

Microwave Satellite Remote Sensing

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study




Teaching semester

Spring, the course will only be taught if enough students enrol.
Enrolment to this course is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 2 for the spring semester.
Please, see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Objectives and Content


The aim of the course is to give a basic knowledge of how different remote sensing techniques in the active and passive microwave domain are used in oceanography and sea ice research and monitoring.


A detailed introduction is given on how measurement of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave domain, both passive and active, is used to detect and quantify ocean surface and sea ice variables. Among these variables are near surface wind and surface waves, surface current and current features, sea level, surface temperature, surface salinity, sea ice drift and extent. The theory and empirical relationship for the measurements is given, with special emphasis on the interaction of the electromagnetic radiation with the ocean and sea ice surfaces. In so doing the different techniques and sensor types that are common in the passive and active microwave frequency domains are also addressed and characterized.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

- understand the principles and basic methods of satellite remote sensing in the active and passive microwave frequency domains for ocean and sea ice observations.

- understand how various part of the electromagnetic wave spectrum observe different oceanographic and sea ice quantities.

- understand the theory and empirical relationship for the dominant interactive processes between the electromagnetic microwaves and the ocean and sea ice surface.

- understand the strength and weaknesses of the passive microwave remote sensing methods.


The student

- is able to explain and specify the ocean and sea ice variables that are detected by remote sensing instruments operating in the various part of the passive and active microwave frequency domains.

- is able to discuss and characterize how the electromagnetic waves are interacting with the ocean and sea ice surfaces.

General competence

The student

- can discuss the interactions between the electromagnetic radiation and the ocean and sea ice surfaces;

- can use the knowledge of different remote sensing techniques in the active and passive microwave domains to obtain relevant knowledge about the upper ocean and sea ice condition;

- is able to outline oceanographic and sea ice knowledge that has strengthened from the use of satellite remote sensing in the microwave frequency domains.

- is able to explore satellite-based data repositories.

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography, Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics in addition to GEOF 310 Turbulence in the Atmospheric and Ocean Boundary Layer, or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is based on regular lectures according to given curriculum.

Is also providing demonstration on use of satellite data repositories for studies of ocean- and sea ice related state conditions and changes.

3-4 hours per week

In total 12-13 weeks

Forms of Assessment


Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.


Exam information