Using data from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer-2 on the ERS-2 satellite, the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer and the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on Envisat and the Spinning Enhanced Visible & InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) instrument on the Meteosat Second Generation, GlobAerosol has produced a global aerosol dataset going back to 1995. The full dataset is available on the GlobAerosol website.
Some aerosols occur naturally, originating from sea-spray, wind-blown dust, volcanic eruptions and biochemical emissions from oceans and forests, while others are produced through emissions from industrial pollution, fossil-fuel burning, man-made forest fires and agriculture.
They are important because they strongly affect Earth’s energy balance in two ways: they scatter and absorb sunlight and infrared emission from Earth's surface, and act as condensation nuclei for the formation of cloud droplets. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these effects tend to cool the planet to almost the same degree as carbon dioxide emissions warm it. These estimates are uncertain, however, so more data are needed.
Satellite data can provide essential information on the global distribution of aerosols to help understand the impact of these processes for the purposes of predicting weather and climate as well as for monitoring the transport of industrial pollution.
To investigate the usefulness of the dataset, pilot studies were carried out by six atmospheric modelling groups from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement, the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Comparing the satellite data with the model predictions showed differences that helped to highlight deficiencies in both.
Results of the pilot studies were presented during ESA’s Atmospheric Science Conference held in Barcelona, Spain, in September. Maria Grazia Frontoso, working on the development of the GLOMAP aerosol model at the University of Leeds in the UK said: "GlobAerosol seems to be a very useful tool to address uncertainties in global models."
Arjo Segers from TNO in the Netherlands compared GlobAerosol data with model predictions of desert dust and forest fires over the Iberian peninsular. "The results of this study suggest that the GlobAerosol SEVIRI dataset is especially useful for investigating aerosol levels over water."
Still, more work is needed to address the problems highlighted in the intercomparison study of the models, and to improve the overall accuracy of the satellite aerosol data. The valuable feedback obtained from the users will help to lay the foundation for the development of more accurate satellite-based aerosol measurements as part of ESA’s new Climate Change Initiative.
The GlobAerosol project was carried out by GMV (Spain), the University of Oxford (UK), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) and Laboratoire Optique Atmospherique (France) and funded by the Data User Element under ESA’s Earth Observation Envelope Programme.
Mariangela D'Acunto | EurekAlert!
Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations
23.02.2018 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals
22.02.2018 | University of Arizona
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy