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Taking Earth's temperature

13 January 2014

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Like thermometers in the sky, satellite instruments can measure the temperatures of Earth's surfaces. ESA's new GlobTemperature project is merging these data from a variety of spaceborne sensors to provide scientists with a one-stop shop for land, lake and ice temperature data.

Information on land surface temperature is a key parameter for studying the Earth system. It plays an important role in physical processes such as atmospheric convection and surface evaporation, biological processes like vegetation sensitivity to stress and to fire, and chemical processes such as emissions of gases from the surface to the atmosphere.

Long-term trends in surface temperature can also be an indicator of climate change.

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