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Romania’s heat wave measured from space

on 12 September 2019

The month of August brought unprecedented heat waves all throughout Europe, Romania included. Using measurements made by the Copernicus EU Sentinel-3 satellite with its Sea and Land Surface Temperature instrument, it was possible to generate an accurate “heatwave map” for our country.

The image shows the Land Surface Temperature on 11 August, at 11:30 local time. The Land Surface Temperature is different than the air temperature included in the regular daily weather reports. It measures how hot the "surface" of the Earth feels to the touch in a specific area. It represents an important indicator for monitoring the state of the global environment and climate change aspects, and it can be used for evaluating the state of crops and vegetation, for assessing the greenhouse effect or the physics of land-surface processes.

The Southern part of Romania was more affected by the heat wave compared to the North. Out of the major cities, Bucharest registered the highest maximum LST (51.0 °C), followed by Constanța (49.5 °C) and Timișoara (45.4 °C). While still extremely high, more moderate values were recorded for Iași (42.2 °C maximum LST, 35.9 °C mean LST) and Cluj Napoca (41.6 °C maximum LST, 34.8 °C mean LST).

The map was made by TerraSigna using modified Copernicus Sentinel data. SENTINEL-3 is an European Earth Observation satellite mission developed to support GMES ocean, land, atmospheric, emergency, security and cryospheric applications. Its mission is to measure sea surface topography, sea and land surface temperature, and ocean and land surface colour with high accuracy and reliability to support ocean forecasting systems, environmental monitoring and climate monitoring.

Image credit: TerraSigna