The Met Office on Monday said it was the first time that satellites had been used to monitor surface “skin” temperatures during a total solar eclipse, Xinhua news agency reported. The research showed the eclipse on March 20 last year resulted in a drop in land surface temperatures in parts of Britain and Europe.
The satellite results were combined with a study of one-minute observations of near-surface air temperature from meteorological stations across Britain, allowing scientists to build a picture of the factors that influence how the temperature changes during a solar eclipse.
“The results show that the amount of sun obscured by the moon, the eclipse duration and the timing, all influence the temperature drop during the event,” a Met official said. “The largest temperature drops occurred where the sun was most obscured, the eclipse was longer, or the timing was earlier in the day,” he said.
Two scientific papers, written by Met office scientists Elizabeth Good and Matt Clark, will be published in a special solar eclipse edition of the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions. Good, from the Climate Monitoring and Attribution Team, said: “Local factors, such as vegetation cover, land use and cloud cover has resulted in previous studies struggling to find links between temperature and the obscuration of the sun.”
“However, the use of satellite data from across a large area has allowed for this to be investigated using observed data for the first time.”
The March 2015 eclipse was total across the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands and Svalbard, and partial in Europe, Iceland, parts of North Africa and northern Asia. For most of the Europe, the eclipse was a morning event.