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Aeolus well on the way to improving forecasts

05 April 2019

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Assessing the accuracy of data being returned by completely new technology in space is a challenging task. But this is exactly what engineers and scientists have been dedicating their time to over the last months so that measurements of the world's winds being gathered by Aeolus can be fed confidently into weather forecast models.

Carrying breakthrough laser technology, the Aeolus satellite – an ESA Earth Explorer mission – was launched in August 2018.

Its novel Aladin instrument, which comprises a powerful laser, a large telescope and a very sensitive receiver, measures the wind by emitting short, powerful pulses of ultraviolet light down into the atmosphere.

After several months of calibration and validation exercises, around 100 scientists and engineers from universities, research institutes and weather centres in Europe, the US, Canada, Japan and China gathered recently at ESA's centre of Earth observation in Italy to review the latest results from the Aeolus data investigations.

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Glaciers lose nine trillion tonnes of ice in half a century

8 April 2019

When we think of climate change, one of the first things to come to mind is melting polar ice. However, ice loss isn't just restricted to the polar regions. According to research published today, glaciers around the world have lost well over 9000 gigatonnes (nine trillion tonnes) of ice since 1961.

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