UKZN’s Atmospheric Research Group (ATMRES) recently hosted its third training workshop for masters and PhD candidates, with the topic being Atmospheric Remote Sensing using ground and space borne techniques.

Fifty-two participants, including 18 presenters, attended the three-day workshop, which included a laser safety course. More than half of those present were students from UKZN, UNISA, the University of the WitwatersrandNorth-West University, the University of Fort Hare, the University of Zululand (UNIZULU), the University of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela University.

The annual research project workshop was funded through the International Council for Scientific Union (ICSU) by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the African Laser Centre (ALC). It was held a day before the training workshop on the topic of Stratosphere-Troposphere Interactions and Change, a bilateral initiative between South Africa and France, funded by the NRF-French Embassy Bilateral PROTEA research initiative.

In the past, UKZN has hosted an Atmospheric Remote Sensing Education and Training (ATM-RESET) workshop to provide French delegates with remote sensing lectures, training, practical exercises and teaching methods.

The third ATMRESET workshop was intended to identify the research goals and plan for the future in terms of Atmospheric Studies in South Africa, with presentations covering a wide range of topics.

The first day focused on atmospheric remote sensing using ground and space borne techniques, the second day on LiDAR and other remote sensing instruments, and the third on ground-based atmospheric remote sensing.

This workshop involved academics and scientists from UKZN, the Centre for Development of Advanced Technologies (CDTA) in Algeria, and the South African Weather Service (SAWS), as well as academics from the University of Réunion Island.

A survey among participants found that student participation and attendance was good and that students responded positively to what they were learning. The general consensus was that the workshop was well organised, with presenters indicating they had enjoyed the experience.

Students generally agreed that presenters were passionate, enthusiastic, well-prepared and knowledgeable, making use of video and practical examples to help clarify the subject matter. Students left with a heightened interest in Earth Observation and in a wide range of remote sensing techniques and instruments.

The annual South African Society for Atmospheric Science conference will be hosted by ATMRES in KwaZulu-Natal in 2018, possibly accompanied by another ATMRESET training workshop.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Sivakumar Venkataraman