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.
The Aeolus mission was launched on 22 August 2018.
23 July 2019
ESA's Aeolus satellite, which carries the world's first space Doppler wind lidar, has been delivering high-quality global measurements of Earth's wind since it was launched almost a year ago. However, part of the instrument, the laser transmitter, has been slowly losing energy. As a result, ESA decided to switch over to the instrument's second laser – and the mission is now back on top form.
05 April 2019
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.