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Objectives

Introduction
Global mission objectives
Regional mission objectives
Instrument contribution to Envisat Mission Objectives

Introduction

The main objective of the Envisat programme is to endow Europe with an enhanced capability for remote sensing observation of Earth from space, with the aim of further increasing the capacity of participating states to take part in the studying and monitoring of the Earth and its environment.

Its primary objectives are:

  • to provide for continuity of the observations started with the ERS satellites, including those obtained from radar-based observations;
  • to enhance the ERS mission, notably the ocean and ice mission;
  • to extend the range of parameters observed to meet the need of increasing knowledge of the factors determining the environment;
  • to make a significant contribution to environmental studies, notably in the area of atmospheric chemistry and ocean studies (including marine biology).

These are coupled with two linked secondary objectives:

  • to allow more effective monitoring and management of the Earth's resources;
  • to better understand solid Earth processes.

The mission intends to continue and improve upon measurements initiated by ERS-1 and ERS-2, and to take into account the requirements related to the global study and monitoring of the environment.

The mission is an essential element in providing long-term continuous data sets that are crucial for addressing environmental and climatological issues. It will at the same time further promote the gradual transfer of applications of remote sensing data from experimental to preoperational and operational exploitation.

Envisat, as an undertaking of ESA member states plus Canada, constitutes a major contribution to the international effort of space agencies worldwide to provide the data and information required to further the understanding, modeling, and prediction of environmental and climatic changes.

This mission includes both global and regional mission objectives (see below) with the corresponding need to provide data to scientific and applications (see below) users on various time scales.

Global mission objectives

Continuous and coherent global data sets are needed by the scientific and application community in order to understand better climatic processes and to improve climate models.

Some global applications require near real time data delivery (from a few hours to one day from sensing). Specific examples include:

  • forecasting of the sea state conditions at various scales;
  • monitoring of sea surface temperature;
  • monitoring of some atmospheric species (e.g., ozone for warning purposes);
  • monitoring of some atmospheric variables (e.g., temperature, pressure, and water vapour, cloud top height, earth radiation budget, etc.);
  • monitoring of ocean colour for supporting fisheries and pollution monitoring (complementing the regional mission).

Some of the global objectives require products available in off-line mode (days to weeks from sensing). Specific examples include quantitative monitoring of:

  • radiate processes;
  • ocean-atmosphere heat and momentum exchange;
  • interaction between atmosphere and land or ice surfaces;
  • composition of the atmosphere and associated chemical processes
  • ocean dynamics and variability;
  • ice sheet characteristics and sea ice distribution and dynamics;
  • large-scale vegetation processes in correlation with surface energy and water distribution;
  • primary productivity of oceans;
  • natural and man-made pollution over the oceans.
  • support to large international programmes (GCOS, IGBP, etc.).

Regional mission objectives

Continuous and coherent regional data sets are needed by the scientific and application user community for a variety of objectives such as:

  • sea ice off-shore applications
  • snow and ice detection and mapping
  • coastal processes and pollution monitoring
  • ship traffic monitoring
  • agricultural and forest monitoring
  • soil moisture monitoring and large-scale vegetation processes
  • geological features and mineral resources
  • application linked to SAR interferometry (DEM generation, hazard monitoring, etc.)
  • hydrological research and applications
  • support to fisheries in coastal waters

Some of the regional objectives (e.g., sea ice applications, marine pollution, maritime traffic, hazard monitoring, etc.) require near real time data products (within a few hours from sensing) generated according to user requests. Some other of these objectives (e.g., agriculture, soil moisture, etc.) require fast turnaround data services (a few days). The remainder would be satisfied with off-line (few weeks) data delivery.

Instrument contribution to Envisat mission objectives

See the Instruments section of this site for more information on the Instruments listed at the top of the table.

[blank] ASAR GOMOS RA-2 MERIS MIPAS MWR LR  SCIA AATSR DORIS
Atmosphere
Clouds       x x     x x  
Water Vapour  

x

  x

x

x     x  
Radiation Budget  

(x)

  x

(x)

x  

(x)

x  
Temperature / 
Pressure
  x  

x

x     x    
Trace Gases   x     x     x    
Aerosols   x   x x     x x  
Turbulence   x                
Land
Surface 
Temperature
          (x)     (x)  
Vegetation 
Characteristics
x     x         x  
Agriculture and 
Forestry
x     (x)         (x)  
Surface Elevation x   x        x    x x
Geology and 
Topography
x   (x)           x  
Hydrology Parameters x   (x) x   (x)     x  
Flooding x                  
Fire                 x  
Ocean
Ocean Colour       x            
Sea Surface 
Temperature
                x  
Surface 
Topography
    x       x     x
Turbidity       x            
Wave Characteristics x   x              
Near Surface Wind x   x              
Current Features x   x              
Marine Geoid     x              
Global Circulation     x           x  
Ocean Fronts x     x         (x)  
Coastal Dynamics x     x            
Oil Spill x                  
Natural Film x                  
Ship Traffic x                  
Ice
Sea Ice Mapping x   x x   (x)        
Sea Ice Motion x   x x            
Sea Ice Processes x                  
Ship Routing x                  
Temperature                 x  
Snow Cover x     x         x  
Topography x   x       x     x
Ice Sheet Dynamic x   x x   (x)        
Instrument contributions to Envisat's mission objectives
x   principal contribution            (x)   secondary or experimental contribution

 

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry