ESA's wind mission ADM-Aeolus
ADM-Aeolus is an Earth Explorer mission currently planned for launch in 2008 and due to chart the Earth's global wind field profiles with a lidar.
Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-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, ADM-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 ADM-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.
Source: ESA - Living Planet Programme