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The modelling of radiation processes are essential to our understanding of the energy cycles between the land surface and the atmosphere. In addition to which they provide an important input to the planning of solar energy programmes.

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Thermopolis 2009

27 August 2009

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In order to improve our understanding of the complexities of how urban heat islands arise, so that more efficient alert systems can be developed and effective mitigation strategies adopted, ESA organised an airborne campaign that was recently carried out over Athens.

In a series of coordinated activities, a group of thermal remote-sensing and urban-climate experts from Greece and Spain carried out ground-based measurements at various sites in and around the Greek capital, whilst aircraft equipped with sensitive instrumentation passed overhead and satellites orbiting Earth acquired data simultaneously from space.

The campaign, called Thermopolis 2009 from the classical Greek terms for hot (thermo) and city (polis), was led and coordinated by Prof. Spyridon Rapsomanikis from the Democritus University of Thrace. It was carried out as part of the Urban Heat Islands and Urban Thermography project within the framework ESA's Data User Element. Four Greek administrations also participated in the project: the city of Athens, the municipality of Amaroussion, the Hellenic National Meteorological Service and the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.

Prof. Rapsomanikis pointed out that, “Although the objectives of the Thermopolis 2009 project targeted the needs of ESA's Urban Heat Island and Urban Thermography Data User Element project, the generated dataset will, as an unavoidable by-product, generate unique scientific insight into the thermal budget of cities.”

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