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!
A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington
Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy