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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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Spotlight on sea-level rise

25 September 2018

Scientists are gathering in the Azores this week to share findings on how satellite has revealed changes in the height of the sea, ice, inland bodies of water and more.

Regional sea-level trends

Of concern to all is the fact that global sea level has not only been rising steadily over the last 25 years, but recently it is rising at a much faster rate.