Tracking a Dramatic Shift in Europe's Land Surface Temperatures

Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it's a reality that we are living through. The recent data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the Sentinel-3 mission’s radiometer instrument offer a startling glimpse into the rapid temperature fluctuations affecting Europe. In just one week, the LAND SURFACE TEMPERATURE (LST) in Europe plummeted by over 20 degrees, as evidenced by the images captured on August 24th and September 1st, 2023.

The Heatwave and Its Aftermath

On August 24th, Europe was in the throes of a heatwave. The LST images showed soil temperatures soaring, contributing to a summer that was already breaking records. According to C3S, the June-July-August season for 2023 was the warmest on record globally, with an average temperature of 16.77°C, a staggering 0.66°C above the average. The European-average temperature for the summer was 19.63°C, making it the fifth warmest summer season on record.

The Sudden Drop

Fast forward to September 1st, and the LST images paint a very different picture. The temperature of the soil had dropped dramatically, by more than 20 degrees in some areas. This sudden change is not just a statistical anomaly; it's a warning sign of the increasing volatility in our climate system.

Why Land Surface Temperature Matters

It's crucial to note that LST is different from air temperature. LST is generally hotter and is a more direct indicator of the heat absorbed and emitted by the land. This can have significant implications for agriculture, water resources, and even human health. High LST can lead to increased evaporation, affecting water availability and soil moisture, which in turn can impact crop yields.

The Role of Copernicus Sentinel-3 Mission

The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission’s radiometer instrument has been instrumental in capturing these temperature variations. The data it provides is invaluable for climate scientists, policymakers, and the general public alike, offering insights into the immediate and long-term effects of climate change.

The Bigger Picture

The dramatic shift in LST within a week serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for climate action. As the global and European temperatures continue to break records, the data from Copernicus and Sentinel-3 serves as both a warning and a call to action. We are at a critical juncture where immediate, collective efforts are required to mitigate the impacts of climate change and safeguard our planet for future generations.

EO4EU is working to make access and use of EO data easier for environmental, government, and even business forecasts and operations. This will include the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission's EO tools which are invaluable for capturing real-time climate data.

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Dramatic Temperature Change