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article imageCopernicus Sentinel-3 satellite imagery shows Europe pulsing red

By Karen Graham     Jul 27, 2019 in Technology
The European Space Agency shared a satellite view of the sweltering temperatures across Europe on Thursday. The amazing imagery is based on data from the European Union's Copernicus SENTINEL-3 mission.
The imagery represents data from the European Union's (EU) Copernicus program and shows the high temperatures — particularly in the regions of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Paris recently hit a peak of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1947, according to a statement released by the European Space Agency.
The map was generated using the Copernicus Sentinel-3’s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer. Because weather forecasts use predicted air temperatures, the Sentinel-3 satellite measures the real amount of energy radiating from Earth.
The satellite's map is actually a better reflection of the real temperature of the land surface. Clouds are visible in white in the image, while the light blue represents snow-covered areas.
In this latest heatwave, not only did France break old records, but Germany, Hungary, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia also reached peak temperatures.
The SENTINEL-1 mission is the European Radar Observatory for the Copernicus joint initiative of the ...
The SENTINEL-1 mission is the European Radar Observatory for the Copernicus joint initiative of the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
ESA
Copernicus program overview
Copernicus is the EU's Earth observation program coordinated and managed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the EU Member States and EU Agencies. Copernicus was established in 2014.
The whole objective of the program was to make use of global data from satellites, and ground-based, airborne and seaborne measurement systems to produce accurate and timely information, services and knowledge on the "health" of the planet.
Copernicus data is free of charge to users and covers six main areas of interest: atmosphere, marine, land, climate, emergency, and security.
SENTINEL-3 Payloads
SENTINEL-3 Payloads
ESA - Sentinel Online
The ESA's Sentinel-3 Mission
The ESA as the main partner has performed much of the design and oversees and co-funds the development of the Sentinel missions - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 with each Sentinel mission consisting of at least 2 satellites and some, such as Sentinel 1, made up of 4 satellites.
The first Sentinel-3 satellite was launched on January 16, 2016, by a Eurockot Rokot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. Sentinel-3's main mission is to measure sea-surface topography, sea and land surface temperature, and ocean and land surface color with high accuracy and reliability to support ocean forecasting systems, environmental monitoring, and climate monitoring.
The Sentinel-3 satellite's payload consists of the following:
*a push-broom imaging spectrometer instrument called the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI)
*a dual view (near-nadir and backward views) conical imaging radiometer called the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) instrument
*a dual-frequency SAR altimeter called the SAR Radar Altimeter (SRAL) instrument
*a Microwave Radiometer (MWR) instrument, supporting the SRAL in achieving overall altimeter mission performance by providing wet atmosphere correction
*a Precise Orbit Determination package including a Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) instrument, a Doppler Orbit determination, and Radio-positioning Integrated on Satellite (DORIS) instrument and a Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR).*
The mounting heat in the north is upsetting typical weather patterns  a trend that "coincides&q...
The mounting heat in the north is upsetting typical weather patterns, a trend that "coincides" with severe winter weather events such as Europe's "Beast from the East" extreme cold snap in March 2018
Vidar RUUD, NTB Scanpix/AFP/File
The importance of satellite monitoring
We all know that the Earth goes through natural cycles of warming and cooling and an isolated weather event really can't be blamed on climate change. That being said, current warming trends and other climatic events are being driven by unprecedented and human-caused changes in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The last time the Earth experienced a fast warming period was 10,000 years ago - known as the Paleo-Eocene Thermal Maximum. This most recent period took only 150 years. Think about that for a moment.
However, we do have technology on our side today, in the form of satellites that track the most minute changes in temperature on the land, sea and in the atmosphere. These satellites send imagery and other data back to Earth so that we can issue warnings. Without them, things could be a lot scarier.
More about Europe heatwave, copernicus, sentinel3, Esa, extent of heatwave
 
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