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StartScience NewsNASA’s ECOSTRESS Detects Blistering “Warmth Islands”

NASA’s ECOSTRESS Detects Blistering “Warmth Islands”


ECOSTRESS Heat Islands India

NASA’s ECOSTRESS instrument made this picture of floor temperatures close to Delhi (decrease proper), round midnight on Could 5. The city “warmth islands” of Delhi and smaller villages peaked at 102 levels Fahrenheit (39 levels Celsius) whereas close by fields have been about 40 levels Fahrenheit cooler. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The instrument aboard the house station paperwork blistering sizzling temperatures in city areas round Delhi through the historic warmth wave on the Indian subcontinent.

A relentless warmth wave has engulfed India and Pakistan since mid-March, inflicting dozens of deaths, fires, elevated air air pollution, and lowered crop yields. Climate forecasts present no prospect of aid any time quickly. NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station instrument (ECOSTRESS) has been measuring these temperatures from space, at the highest spatial resolution of any satellite instrument.

This ECOSTRESS Land Surface Temperature image, taken shortly before local midnight on May 5, shows urban areas and agricultural lands northwest of Delhi (the large red area in the lower right) that are home to about 28 million people. The image covers about 4,800 square miles (12,350 square kilometers).

Cities are usually markedly warmer than the surrounding countryside due to human activities and the materials used in the built environment. The image clearly delineates these urban “heat islands.” Nighttime temperatures in Delhi and several smaller villages were above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), peaking at about 102 degrees F (39 degrees C), while the rural fields nearby had cooled to around 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). This data suggests that city dwellers are experiencing considerably higher temperatures than the average temperatures recorded for their regions.

ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of the ground itself, which is very similar to air temperature at night (though the ground may be warmer than the air in daylight hours). The instrument was launched to the space station in 2018. Its primary mission is to identify plants’ thresholds for water use and water stress, giving insight into their ability to adapt to a warming climate. However, ECOSTRESS also records other heat-related phenomena, like this heat wave. With a pixel size of about 225 feet (70 meters) by 125 feet (38 meters), its high-resolution images serve as a powerful tool for understanding aspects of the weather event that might be overlooked by traditional observation networks.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California built and manages the ECOSTRESS mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.



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