The ESA MOOC on The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space was first released as a full course in 2017. This website provides the videos, texts and external links from the course.



About the course

The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space

A MOOC on the role of Earth observation to monitor the Greenland ice sheet.


The ESA  MOOC 'The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space' was first released in 2017 on the FutureLearn MOOC platform as a complete and highly innovative course which included videos, interactive exercises, tests, links and further reading. The course introduced diverse new audiences to satellite Earth observation (EO) data.

This website provides all of the core videos and text content from the course on an open and continuous basis. The videos can be streamed or downloaded.


The vast ice sheets that overlie Greenland and Antarctica hold over 99% of all the surface freshwater on Earth. If this ice were to melt, it has the potential to contribute greatly to global sea level rise. In order to fully understand how climate change is affecting these remote but sensitive regions, we need to determine how the thickness of the ice is changing.


This course will provide you with an overview of the role of ice in the climate system and the impact and implications of a warming climate on the Greenland Ice Sheet. You will also learn about the types of measurements possible from satellites like Cryosat and the technologies and techniques involved.


This course focuses principally on Earth observation from space and therefore relates mainly to satellite remote sensing. However, it will also look at some similar forms of remote sensing often conducted from aircraft or ground based sensors. Throughout the course, the terms ‘Earth observation’ and ‘remote sensing’ are often used interchangeably. Also, don’t forget that the word ‘data’ in the context of satellite EO can refer to optical imagery and photography, as well as to so-called ‘geospatial’ and numerical data derived from other forms of sensors.


Essentially, ‘geospatial data’ refers to the information extracted or inferred from measurements at a specific geographical location.


Visit the How to use this course page to learn more about how to get the most out of the course material.



This course has been produced for ESA by Imperative Space, a multi-faceted education and media company which has produced a range of online courses and training materials for clients in several global sectors, including space, environment, science, technology, NGOs and government.


Other MOOCs on Earth observation data produced by Imperative Space have included courses focusing on the role of EO in monitoring our changing climate and environment, land cover, and humanitarian response, and monitoring the ocean.







Course developed by Imperative Space for ESA