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Seen from Space 2003

Heat Wave in Europe

 

Europe is suffering from unusually high temperatures. Since June 2003, temperatures have been higher than normal in large areas of Europe. In August, the highest temperature in Paris exceeded 40 degrees centigrade. In summer, Paris is usually much cooler than Tokyo (*1) , and not so many people have air conditioners in their homes. Many people are suffering from heat sickness due to this extraordinary heat. Long-continued high temperatures and dryness not only influence crops but also increase forest fires in various regions.

The image indicates the difference of average land-surface temperatures (*2) for August 10 to 15 2002 and 2003 estimated from observation data acquired by NASDA's sensor AMSR-E on NASA's Earth-observing satellite Aqua. High figures indicate that the temperature is higher in 2003. Yellow or orange parts in France, Germany, Czech, and northern Italy show where temperatures are more than 10 degrees higher than in the previous year.

Locally red parts in northern Italy and France do not represent actual temperature but noise due to interference from signals on the ground at the same frequency as AMSR-E.

AMSR-E is a radiometer that observes microwaves from the Earth's surface in six frequency bands. We could estimate temperature in Europe using AMSR-E because microwaves radiated from the Earth vary with the temperature of the Earth's surface.

(*1) The average maximum temperature in August is 24 degrees in Paris and 31 degrees in Tokyo.
(*2) More precisely, AMSR-E estimates radiance temperature from the atmosphere just above the land surface, that is almost equal to the land-surface temperature.

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