Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate

  • Home
  • Events
  • Unleashing the power of satellites for climate action

Unleashing the power of satellites for climate action

Discover how satellites can combat climate change in partnership with the Royal Institution (Ri)

Join us at the Royal Institution of Great Britain to learn about TRUTHS, a climate-focused mission led by the UK Space Agency with international partners and delivered by the European Space Agency.

About the lecture

This lecture will look at how satellite observations are helping us understand and respond to the challenges of climate change. It will show how observations are used to understand the Earth system through the carbon and water cycles and measures of the Earth energy balance, as well as through detailed measurements of individual processes. We will show how such observations, when supported by rigorous metrological (measurement science) approaches, can provide the essential information for society to monitor progress on the way to Net Zero, and to understand how the climate is changing in response to our human actions. This lecture will look at how best to understand and interpret findings and apply them over short, medium and long term scenarios. 

From this, we will introduce TRUTHS, a climate-focused satellite mission led by the UK Space Agency with international partners and delivered by the European Space Agency. This mission will make a ten-fold improvement in how we can observe and quantify climate change through its own direct measurements of the sun’s energy and how that is scattered, reflected and absorbed by the Earth. TRUTHS will also provide a ‘gold standard’ reference data set that can be used to calibrate and improve the performance of other satellites .

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about British science at the cutting-edge of understanding climate change.

About the speakers

The lecture will be held by Prof Nigel Fox and Dr Emma Woolliams.

Prof Nigel Fox is an NPL Fellow in Optical Radiometry and Earth Observation. Nigel joined NPL from University College London in 1981 with a BSc in Astronomy and Physics. Nigel is Lead Investigator (LI) of TRUTHS, a climate focussed satellite mission, a concept he has been working on since the 1990s and now being implemented by ESA. Also while at NPL he pioneered work in metrology for satellite Earth observation, taking NPL out from laboratory-based calibrations into broader applications. He has chaired the infrared and visible optical sensors subgroup (IVOS: of the Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) (the international coordinating body of space agencies) – through which he pioneered bringing metrological principles into satellite Earth observation, and helped establish the “Quality Assurance Framework for Earth Observation” (QA4EO) which has been endorsed by Space Agencies internationally.

Dr Emma Woolliams graduated from Imperial College London in 1998 and has worked at the National Physical Laboratory since then. Her PhD was on the establishment of the UK’s primary spectral irradiance scale. In her early career, she worked as a laboratory metrologist specialising in radiometry and thermometry, and conducting international comparisons to ensure SI consistency. This naturally led to work on radiometric satellite sensors - first for pre-flight calibrations, then for ways of calibrating satellites in orbit. She was the lead metrologist on several projects that, for the first time, established rigorous methods for determining and validating uncertainties in satellite sensors post-launch. Having established a successful team of scientists who focus on applying metrology approaches to a wide range of radiometric sensors, Emma has now switched her focus to radar satellites. Emma Woolliams is also chair of the European Metrology Network for Climate and Ocean Observation.

We hope that you can join us for this prestigious occasion at this historic venue.

If you have any questions, please contact

16 January

7pm – 8:30pm


Royal Institution, London

To find out more and book