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Satellites and Acid Oceans

In this podcast from the Planet Earth Online collection and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), reporters 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, Richard Hollingham finds out how increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are acidifying the oceans. He 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.

Later on, scientists explain how they have discovered that temperatures in warm periods between ice ages were around 6°C warmer than previously thought. Another report, from Antarctica to Kenya explains how the natural diversity of Kenyan gum trees could help farmers make a better living.

And finally, scientists say they've found evidence to suggest that large dinosaurs like the mighty T-rex were warm-blooded and not cold-blooded like modern reptiles.

This podcast is dated 30 November 2009.

NERC is a part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) partnership of research councils.

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