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 Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>