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Improving new Aeolus wind data for forecasts

12 November 2019

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Tests carried out show that new wind profile observations from ESA's Aeolus satellite significantly improve weather forecasts – particularly in the southern hemisphere and the tropics.

Carrying breakthrough laser technology, the Aeolus satellite – an ESA Earth Explorer mission – was launched in August 2018. It is the first satellite mission to provide profiles of Earth's winds globally.  

Unexpectedly, Aeolus observations turn out to have small ‘biases' in their data. As is normal for any satellite mission, successfully correcting these biases is an important part of optimising the use of the satellite's observations.

Over the past year, scientists at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), in close collaboration with ESA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the software company DoRIT, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Météo-France have been making big strides in understanding these inconsistencies.

Tests carried out at ECMWF show that when Aeolus data are combined with short-range forecast information in a process called data assimilation, the short-range forecasts used are improved.


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