Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mediterranean hot flush detected after scorching summer

24.09.2003


Sea Surface Temperature around Crete, 31 August 2003


Sea Surface Temperature around Crete, 30 August 2002


Our record-breaking long hot summer heated Europe’s seas as well as the land. Results returned from ESA’s Envisat environmental satellite show Mediterranean waters off Crete around three degrees Celsius warmer than the previous year.

The top image represents sea surface temperature around the island for 31 August 2003, while the second image shows it for 30 August 2002. The brighter the colour the higher the temperature: there is a five-degree difference between the two recorded in waters north of Crete, and a two-to-three degree difference south of Crete. The maximum (bright red) temperature shown in the two images is 25 degrees, the minimum (dark blue) is 16 degrees. Areas in black are either land or covered by cloud.

The data come from Envisat’s Advanced Along Track Radiometer (AATSR), which functions like a space-based thermometer. The instrument records infrared wavelengths of light to calculate sea surface temperature to an accuracy of 0.3 degrees and a spatial resolution of 1 sq km. The images were prepared for ESA by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.


"The difference between the two years is a striking demonstration of how variable the climate can be," said Professor David Llewellyn-Jones of University of Leicester, the Principal Investigator for AATSR. "Sea surface temperature is an especially important factor in climate studies because it takes a long time and the transfer of a lot of heat to change it.

"The oceans actually represent an enormous reservoir of heat. It’s not generally realised but they absorb directly the majority of energy radiated from the Sun due to their surface area – covering about 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface. The oceans then transfer heat directly to the atmosphere."

The oceans are a good indicator of possible climate change because they actually store a huge amount of solar heat, and their temperatures are an indication of how much heat they hold. They take much longer to warm up or cool down by comparison to the land or the air, so sea surface temperature records can be used to help identify longer-term climatic trends.

"By themselves, these particular AATSR images just show us is that the climate varies – and that’s nothing new, climate is always fluctuating," said Llewellyn-Jones. "And these are images of two different days in a single locality. Where the AATSR data really become useful are on a larger scale, and over a long time scale."

Earlier versions of the AATSR flew aboard ESA’s previous ERS-1 and ERS-2 spacecraft, so a near-continuous dataset of comparable measurements exists for the last 12 years. And by the time Envisat finishes its mission another five years - or more - will be added to this figure.

"Studying climate models show us we need at least 15 years worth of data to differentiate a definite global temperature increase from the normal variability of climate," explained Llewellyn-Jones. "Preliminary analysis of existing results does indicate a general upward trend, but we will be more certain with more time and more data."

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and National Environment Research Council (NERC) developed AATSR along with an additional funding contribution from Australia. The instrument can also be used to measure cloud characteristics, land surface cover, plant health and even see forest blazes as they burn. It is one of ten instruments aboard ESA’s Envisat environmental satellite, orbiting the Earth every 100 minutes from 800 km up.

Henri Laur | ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaSA/SEMRAD0P4HD_earth_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>