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Surfing for science

29 July 2015

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Thanks to a new system developed by scientists in the UK, taking to the waves for a spot of surfing can benefit research into the health of coastal waters, and could help confirm satellite measurements of sea-surface temperature.

The system, developed by Plymouth Marine Laboratory and partly funded through ESA's Earth Observation Support to Science Element, allows surfers to measure the temperature of the sea every time they head for the surf.

Potentially, this could provide 40 million in situ measurements per year around the UK alone, yielding unique information about the coastline.

As well as being an important climate variable, sea-surface temperature is an important driver of ocean circulation.

One of the tasks of Europe's upcoming Sentinel-3 mission is to determine global sea-surface temperatures to within 0.3ÂșC.

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