What is Aeolus?
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus will provide global observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes.
Although there are several ways of measuring wind from a satellite, Aeolus will utilise the active Doppler Wind Lidars (DWL) method. This is the only method that has the potential to provide the required data globally, from direct wind observations. In addition, a DWL will provide information on cloud top heights, vertical distribution of cloud, aerosol properties, and wind variability. This information is a useful by-product of the DWL method.
An improved model of the Earth's climate and atmosphere will lead to progress in numerical weather prediction (NWP), especially concerning long-term forecasting. It is widely recognised that a new global atmospheric observing system, such as Aeolus, will have a great effect upon operational weather forecasting. The provision of detailed wind profiles will also benefit scientists involved with climate research, allowing for greater accuracy in the numerical modelling of tropical regions in particular.
07 February 2018
ESA's Aeolus satellite has been particularly tricky to build. One of the main stumbling blocks has been getting its lasers to work in a vacuum, but recent tests on the satellite show that the vacuum or temperature of space won't get in the way of Aeolus measuring Earth's winds.
02 November 2017
With liftoff on the horizon, ESA's Aeolus satellite is going through its last round of tests to make sure that this complex mission will work in orbit. Over the next month, it is sitting in a large chamber that has had all the air sucked out to simulate the vacuum of space.
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