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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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Glaciers lose nine trillion tonnes of ice in half a century

8 April 2019

When we think of climate change, one of the first things to come to mind is melting polar ice. However, ice loss isn't just restricted to the polar regions. According to research published today, glaciers around the world have lost well over 9000 gigatonnes (nine trillion tonnes) of ice since 1961.