Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UK record heatwave and rising pollution observed by eyes in the sky: images reveal hotspots

25.07.2006
As the UK bakes during this summer’s heatwave, sensors in space have been recording dramatic increases in both UK land temperature and in air pollution, particularly in major cities. During a period of persistent stable summer weather from 15th and 19th July, temperatures rose to record highs for the U.K. and pollution due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a respiratory inhibitor, appears to have risen considerably too; the Met Office reported that temperatures on July 19th reached a record maximum for July.

These facts are dramatically demonstrated by the latest images from two sensors, the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) on ESA’s ENVISAT satellite and the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura Satellite. The AATSR data show clearly how temperatures in the UK rose rapidly in a few days whilst the OMI results show the large increases in NO2. In particular, the results show the extremity of the effects on large conurbations, such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, suffering both extremes of temperature and pollution, whilst smaller individual cities such as Leicester show high temperatures but more moderate levels of pollution. Rural environments outside the sphere of influence of the cities display much more pleasant temperatures and moderate pollution levels. Since NO2 is mainly caused by road traffic and power-plants, the lack of rain and wind in the stable summer weather allows significant NO2 build-up in major cities.

Dr. John Remedios, Head of Earth Observation Science at the University of Leicester said: “The latest satellite data shows a perspective on the environment in which we live that can only be obtained from space. The images show the temperature increase and increased pollution for every region in the UK. It is particularly striking to see the extent of temperature and pollution increases in the large cities which have such a detrimental effect on the quality of life in those locations”.

These extremes of temperature and of pollution are likely to occur periodically throughout the summer as the prevailing heatwave conditions maintain themselves. Moreover, current climate change predictions for the UK suggest that the frequency of these extreme periods of high temperature and high pollution will increase. The consequences of long-term exposure to prolonged high temperatures and pollution levels are of particular concern to the elderly and those with breathing difficulties, living in large cities with associated health risks. Hence these data should be closely scrutinised by local and national government when considering air quality measures available each day in their respective areas. EU and National frameworks are in place, which impose maximum limits on levels of nitrogen dioxide in populated areas. Techniques and technology are progressing rapidly to allow more accurate and timelier assessment of compliance with such regulations across national and international landscapes.

The AATSR instrument is a UK instrument, funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to monitor sea and land surface temperatures.

The OMI instrument is a Dutch-Finnish instrument, funded by the Dutch and Finnish government. OMI was launched in July 2004 on NASA's EOS-Aura satellite. The Principal Investigator Institute is the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute KNMI, which works closely with NASA GSFC and FMI. Dr. Pieternel Levelt, OMI's Principal Investigator, said: "OMI's global urban-scale air pollution measurements on a day-to-day basis are the best ever to date for air quality from space."

Alex Jelley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>