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University of Leicester researchers involved in new project to measure Earth’s temperature

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University of Leicester researchers involved in new project to measure Earth’s temperature

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Environment and also in Education

University of Leicester researchers are leading a major new project launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) entitled ‘GlobTemperature’, which focuses on measuring the temperature of the Earth’s land surfaces.

Accurate knowledge of land surface temperature is essential in a range of disciplines, including numerical weather prediction and climate change research, as well as for monitoring drought, wildfire risk and even threats to human health.

Working collaboratively within a consortium of international institutions and with the support of the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) in the UK, researchers from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics & Astronomy will be researching methods  to merge surface temperature data from a variety of satellites to provide a unified view of temperatures across land surfaces globally.

The intention is to provide both merged and individual data sets in a common format which will be made available in a single online archive.

Professor John Remedios from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, who leads the project, said:  “Satellite observations of land surface temperatures, and their change, are increasingly important for evaluating models of the Earth system and for observing long-term change. This Leicester-led project will be transformative through the innovative methods and unique data sets that users will be able to use as a result to investigate temperature change.”

Currently, meteorologists and climate scientists predominantly use air temperature measurements. Satellites are less frequently used as they pose a number of difficulties. Gaps are often found in satellite data due to cloud cover and it provides limited sampling of the day and night temperature cycle.

However, the new global datasets to be developed under GlobTemperature will provide a more complete picture of day and night temperatures, including estimates of clear-sky versus cloudy sky biases.

Since evidence suggests that long-term trends in surface temperature can be an indicator of climate change, the project will also provide data to enable further investigation into this area of study.

Dr Darren Ghent from the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester said: “The project will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for land, lake and ice temperature data from space; both enhancing the portfolio of Earth Observation products, while concurrently breaking down the barriers to successful application of such data through a programme of dialogue between the data providers and data users.”

The GlobTemperature Project will run for the next three years.

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