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So hot that we can see those Urban Heat Islands from space

During the June heatwaves in Europe NASA was studying the “Ecostress” of various cities.

The heat coming off Charles DeGualle’s  Orly Airport’s runways is easily visible from space. (As are all the other ideal locations for putting climate change thermometers.) CORRECTED Charles de Gaulle airport runways are (I think) beyond the top right of the heat map.

h/t To AndyG

EU heat Map - Madrid

The NASA Ecostress map for Paris   | Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Hands up who thinks thermometers in 1880 were reading too warm? Anyone…

The shots were taken in the early morning:

They show how the central core of each city is much hotter than the surrounding natural landscape due to the urban heat island effect – a result of urban surfaces storing and re-radiating heat throughout the day.

he fact that surface temperatures were as high as 77-86 degrees Fahrenheit (25-30 degrees Celsius) in the early morning indicates that much of the heat from previous days was stored by surfaces with high heat capacity (such as asphalt, concrete and water bodies) and unable to dissipate before the next day. The trapped heat resulted in even higher midday temperatures, in the high 40s (Celsius) in some places, as the heat wave continued.

 So these heat sinks have had all night to lose their extra heat yet here they are still radiating. Even at lunch time the next day.

EU heat Map - Madrid

Rome- Ecostress Heat map  |   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Nice of them to mark the airports.

See Milan and Madrid below.

EU heat Map - Madrid

Milan – Ecostress Heat map    |   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



EU heat Map - Madrid

Madrid – Ecostress Heat map  |   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Detecting the Urban Heat Island effect does not seem to be part of the mission statement?

COSTRESS launched to the space station last summer and began collecting its first heat data just days after installation. The instrument measures variations of ground temperatures to within a few tenths of a degree, and it does so with unprecedented detail: It’s able to detect temperature changes at various times of day over areas the size of a football field. These measurements help scientists assess plant health and response to water shortages, which can be an indicator of future drought. They can also be used in observing heat trends, spotting wildfires and detecting volcanic activity.

For more information on ECOSTRESS visit:


h/t Climarco for the correction to the airport name indicated in Paris.

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