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Aeolus: of weather and winds

16 August 2018

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Thanks to the wind, heat is distributed around the planet. Equatorial regions receive more heat from the Sun than other parts of the world.

This leads to differences in air temperature, density and pressure, which in turn, cause the air to move – creating wind. This movement of air constitutes the general circulation of the atmosphere, transporting heat away from equatorial regions towards the poles, and returning cooler air to the tropics.

The wind clearly plays an important role in weather forecasts, which in turn are not only important for planning our daily affairs, but vital for numerous commercial activities such as farming, fishing, transport, and for taking appropriate measures when extreme weather is on the horizon.

Although weather forecasts have advanced considerably in recent years, there is a need for global wind measurements to improve them even further. ESA's Aeolus mission will fill this gap by providing global wind-profiles in near-real time.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts will process these data and the data in their numerical weather prediction models, which will lead to better forecasting.

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Zooming in on Mexico's landscape

22 October 2018

As part of a scientific collaboration with the Mexican Space Agency, ESA has combined images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission to produce a detailed view of the vegetation growing across the entire country.

sentinel-2 mexico vegetation

The high-resolution land-cover map combines images captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2 between 2016 and 2018.