Tag: clima

Mapping Air Pollution
Mapping Air Pollution

The European Space Agency, aka ESA, launched the Sentinel-5P satellite that is mapping air pollution like never before. The first image was taken november 22nd 2017 and it showed nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Caused largely by traffic and the combustion of fossil fuel in industrial processes, the high concentrations of this air pollutant can be seen over parts of the Netherlands, the Ruhr area in western Germany, the Po Valley in Italy and over parts of Spain. This new mission promises to image air pollutants in more detail than ever before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite’s instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus.

Concentrazioni di diossido di azoto in Europa

 Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, “Sentinel-5P is the sixth satellite for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring programme but the first dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. These first images offer a tantalising glimpse of what’s in store and are not only an important milestone for the Sentinel-5P mission, but also an important milestone for Europe. Data such as we see here will soon underpin the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, and will be used to issue forecasts, and will ultimately be valuable for helping to put appropriate mitigation policies in place.”

Sentinel-5P carries the most advanced sensor of its type to date: Tropomi. This state-of-the-art instrument can map pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols, all of which affect the air we breathe and our climate.

This, for example is the map of carbon monoxide

The Sahara Desert got bigger
The Sahara Desert got bigger

Climate changes in the last century caused the expansion of the world’s biggest desert, the Sahara. According to a study published on the Journal of Climate the Sahara Desert has grown by 10 percent over the last century due to a combination of natural climate variations and global warming.

The growth of the Sahara has been influenced by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, a natural climate cycle that changes the Atlantic Ocean from warm to cold phases every 60 to 80 years and can impact rainfall patterns across much of Africa. Also global warming may also be altering atmospheric circulation patterns, such as the Hadley cell, which moves air from the Equator to the subtropics, drying it out as it goes and creating many subtropical deserts, including the Sahara.

Researchers estimate that around one third of the Sahara’s expansion is down to climate change caused by human activity. That has implications for those who live in the Sahara as well as the wider world.