Gathering Global Data

Students learn about the remote sensing radio occultation technique and how engineers use it with GPS satellites to monitor and study the Earth's atmospheric activity. Students may be familiar with some everyday uses of GPS, but not as familiar with how GPS technology contributes to our ongoing need for great amounts of ever-changing global atmospheric data for accurate weather forecasting, storm tracking and climate change monitoring. GPS occultations are when GPS signals sent from one satellite to another are altered (delayed, refracted) by the atmosphere passed though, such that they can be analyzed to remotely learn about the planet's atmospheric conditions.