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Satellite images show sharp rise in UK

UK, 25 July 2006: Sensors in space have recorded the dramatic increases in land temperatures and air pollution as the UK swelters in record-breaking July heat. The images show major cities like London, Birmingham and Liverpool experiencing the highest levels of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The images were generated from data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Envisat and NASA’s Aura satellites.

John Remedios, Head of Earth Observation Science at the University of Leicester, said: “The latest satellite data shows a perspective of the environment in which we live that can only be obtained from space. The images show temperature increases and increased pollution for every region in the UK.” The images show the stark differences in land temperatures and nitrogen dioxide between 15 and 18 July when most of the UK experienced heatwave conditions.

Researchers at the University of Leicester, who released the images, said the data could offer some insight into the future. “These extremes of temperature and of pollution are likely to occur periodically throughout this summer as the prevailing heatwave conditions maintain themselves,” Earth Observation Science’s Dr Gary Corlett said. “Moreover, current climate change predictions for the UK suggest that the frequency of the these extreme periods of high temperature and pollution will increase.”