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The measurement of sea-surface wind vectors are operationally input to meteorological models and to shipping routing forecasts. In addition there is a growth in the request to support renewable energy projects such as wind farms.

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Satellites detect abundance of fresh water in the Arctic

23 January 2012

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ESA satellites show that a large dome of fresh water has been building up in the Arctic Ocean over the last 15 years. A change in wind direction could cause the water to spill into the north Atlantic, cooling Europe.

The results are remarkable: since 2002, the sea surface in the studied area has risen by about 15 cm, and the volume of fresh water has increased by some 8000 cubic km – around 10% of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean.

Researchers from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at University College London and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre used data from ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites to measure sea-surface height over the western Arctic from 1995 to 2010.

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