PhD student Rüdiger Lang has developed a method to obtain information about water vapour from satellite data not specifically measuring this. The research is part of a project from the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), the Space Research Organisation Netherlands (SRON) and the Free University of Amsterdam.
Water vapour has a greenhouse effect three times stronger than that of carbon dioxide. Therefore a good picture as to the presence, distribution and influence of water vapour in the atmosphere is important. Observations of the atmosphere and the earth`s surface from a number of satellites orbiting the earth contain hidden information about water vapour.
In laboratory experiments, Rüdiger Lang determined the exact `fingerprints` which water molecules leave behind on the signal that satellites measure for the atmosphere as a whole. An instrument in such a satellite looks through the earth’s atmosphere and measures the characteristics of the sunlight which is reflected by the earth`s surface (land, sea, ice, clouds).
Michel Philippens | alfa
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