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1.2 SCIAMACHY’s Goals

The main objectives of the SCIAMACHY mission are to improve our knowledge of global atmospheric composition, its change in response to both natural and anthropogenic activity and the processes associated to it as well as the related global issues of importance to the chemistry and physics of our atmosphere such as:


the impact of anthropogenic activity and natural processes on tropospheric ozone, air quality and global warming,


exchange processes between the stratosphere and troposphere,


the interaction of stratospheric chemistry and dynamics,


natural modulations of atmospheric composition resulting from volcanic eruptions, lightning, solar output variations (e.g. solar cycle), or solar proton events.

To achieve these goals, SCIAMACHY was proposed to deliver a multitude of parameters characterising the system Earth-Atmosphere-Sun, especially key trace gases and parameters in the troposphere and stratosphere. The following gases were targeted for measurement: O2, O3, O4, NO, NO2, NO3, CO, CO2, HCHO, CH4, H2O, N2O, SO2, BrO, OClO. The combined use of nadir and limb observations yields tropospheric amounts of the constituents down to the ground or cloud top depending on cloud cover. In addition to the trace gases, information on clouds (cloud top height, cloud optical thickness, ice-water cloud discrimination) and aerosol can be deduced from the SCIAMACHY measurements. Particularly interesting, among these, are Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC) and Noctilucent Clouds (NLC), also referred to as Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC).

Table 1-2 summarises the parameters to be derived from SCIAMACHY measurements and their application areas. It is expected that the data sets obtained by SCIAMACHY can significantly contribute to the quantification of the complex interactions between natural and human activities, climate, atmospheric composition, and the relevant chemical and physical processes.

Subject  Parameter from SCIAMACHY Data  Application Areas 
Surface  spectral surface albedo, UV A/B, chlorophyll content  Earth radiative budget ocean biology spectral surface characteristics  
Troposphere (incl. Boundary Layer1)  columns of O3, NO2, BrO, SO2, HCHO, CHOCHO, H2O, CO, CO2, CH4, clouds, aerosol, actinic flux  transport and transformation of pollutants including air qualitytropospheric ozone and oxidation potentialcarbon budget quantification of emissionsclimate-chemistry interaction  
Tropopause Region  concentrations of O3, NO2, H2O, CO, CH4, Clouds, thermodynamic phase of clouds  transport processes in the tropopause regionwater budget, including ice clouds impact of aviation on climateclimate-chemistry interaction 
Stratosphere  profiles of O3, NO2, BrO, OClO, H2O, aerosol, Polar Stratospheric Clouds  development of the ozone layerclimate-chemistry interactions solar-terrestrial interactions 
Mesosphere  profiles of O3, NO, OH, metal ions, temperature, Polar Mesospheric Clouds  climate-chemistry interactionssolar-terrestrial interactions 
Top of the Atmosphere  Earth spectral reflectance  Earth radiative budget 
Sun   spectral solar irradiance, Mg-Index (solar activity)   Earth radiative budgetsolar-terrestrial interactions, solar physics  

1 Sensitivity to boundary layer dependent on surface albedo, cloudiness and aerosol loading

Table 1-2: Summary of parameters to be derived from SCIAMACHY and the relevant application areas.


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