Extreme Temperature

The image shows the heat emanating from Death Valley on 30 June 2013. The measurement is surface temperature as measured by the Thermal Infrared Sensor on the Landsat 8 satellite. The accompanying natural color view from the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 shows that the cooler areas are either higher in elevation or covered with plants. Image: NASA.


A general term for temperature variations above (extreme heat) or below (extreme cold) normal conditions (IRDR Glossary).

Since climate varies regionally, the definition of an extreme temperature and its threshold will differ from location to location. In other words, an extreme value in one location may be within the normal range in a different location (WMO).

A simple method is to establish a specific threshold for temperature and extreme precipitation events and evaluate the extremes that occur over (or under) that given threshold. Another common mean of ascertaining thresholds is based on selecting the tail of distributions for temperature and precipitation.Statistical partitions such as by quartiles or percentiles of the distribution have provided a means for evaluating extremes (WMO).

Facts and figures

Heat waves

A period of marked unusual hot weather (maximum, minimum and daily average temperature) over a region persisting at least three consecutive days during the warm period of the year based on local (station-based) climatological conditions, with thermal conditions recorded above given thresholds. Heat waves differ from warm spells. Similar to heat waves, warm spells are defined as a persistent period of abnormal warm weather. A warm spell occurs at any time of the year, whereas heat waves can only occur in the warm season (WMO).

Cold waves

A period of marked and unusual cold weather characterized by a sharp and significant drop of air temperatures near the surface (maximum, minimum and daily average) over a large area and persisting below certain thresholds for at least two consecutive days during the cold season. “Cool spell” refers to persistently below-average temperature conditions occurring during the warm season (WMO).

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Data Source

Publishing institution: Radiant Earth Foundation
The website: https://www.radiant.earth Help and Tutorials: https://help.radiant.earth/ Demos & Use Cases: https://demos.radiant.earth/
Publishing institution: NASA Earth Science Disasters Program
NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) is a program for archiving and distributing Earth science data from multiple missions to users.
Publishing institution: OceanDataLab
The Ocean Virtual Laboratory is a web platform making satellite and in-situ data for ocean monitoring accessible. It presents one of multiple Syntool Web portals that promote the synergistic use of Ocean Remote Sensing data in a wider context of Oceanic and Atmospheric models or in-situ data. , ESA/SEOM Ocean Virtual Laboratory portal: SAR roughness Sentinel 1: Ocean Color: From Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3 and Meteosat. Chlorophyll: From VIIRS and MODIS Sea Surface Temperature, Sea level, Salinity, Wind, Current, Rain, Mean Square Slope, Sea ice concentration , ESA/DUE GlobCurrent portal: SAR roughness, Ocean Color, Chlorophyll, Sea surface temperature, Sea level, Salinity, Wind, Wave, Current, Rain, ESA SMOS Storm portal: Significant Wave height (SWH) Jason 2 and ALTIKA, SAR roughness Sentinel-1, Wind speed SMOS, SMAP, AMSR2 and ASCAT, wind barbs ASCAT, CNES Aviso'VIZ altimetry portal: Sea Surface Height Anomaly (SSHA) Jason-2 and SARAL, Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) Jason-2 and SARAL, Absolute Dynamic Anomaly (ADT) Jason-2 and SARAL, Mean Sea Level RIse, Sea Level Anomaly, Geostrophic current vectors and streamlines., ESA Sentinel3 Viewer: products from OLCI, SLSTR and SRAL sensors., CNES PEPS Sentinel-1 Ocean Viewer: SAR roughness Sentinel-1, ESA Sea Surface Salinity portal: SMOS salinity, SMAP salinity
Publishing institution: European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)
Map Viewer that allows downloading and time series creation of Meteosat and Sentinel-3 products.

GP-STAR factsheet

Publishing institution: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
After the TAM was conducted in Myanmar, innovative impacts were completed following a recommendation. “Emergency Operation Centre (EOC)”, which is comprised of four units including “Remote Sensing Unit” and “Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Unit” was established in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief & Resettlement (MSWRR). The capacity building of MSWRR and other related institutes in remote sensing and GIS were strengthened. The Disaster Management Training Centre now conducts courses in remote sensing/GIS. Myanmar has also become the first country in ASEAN to apply for universal access to the International Charter. Myanmar government is aware of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and one map policy that has been initiated by the Ministry of Education is very crucial.  
Publishing institution: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

In order to encourage the targeted retrieval of space-based information and data by disaster risk reduction practitioners, content on the Portal is systematically enriched with metadata. For instance, data sources are marked up with data about their file type, satellite/sensor and spatial coverage and whether they relate to the disaster risk management or emergency response phase. The tool features a range of filters that draw on the metadata, thereby allowing users to narrow down their search, for example, filtering available GIS software by hazard type. This ensures that users efficiently find the content that is most relevant to them. At the same time, the Portal encourages the discovery of resources related to those accessed by the user, by providing links to them on the same page. This allows for contextualisation and highlights links between resources from different areas that other platforms may display in an isolated fashion. A dynamic glossary, which means that terms in... read more

Publishing institution: UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)

Based on optical and radar images of different resolutions, UNOSAT products are also enriched with the available baseline GIS datasets and crowdsourcing data. Satellite-derived analysis performed by UNOSAT is delivered in the form of GIS Data, Static Maps, Live Web Maps, and Reports, and is then shared with a wide range of end-users such as UN Agencies, International Organizations, and Governments.


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