Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

International cooperation boosts EarthCARE

21.05.2007
With the design consolidation phase soon to start for ESA's EarthCARE mission, scientists and engineers from around the world recently met to discuss preparations for a mission that is being implemented with the cooperation of Japanese partners to address the need for a better understanding of how the interactions between clouds, aerosols and solar radiation regulate climate.

The workshop, held at ESA-ESTEC in the Netherlands on 7-9 May 2007, followed the deadline for industry to submit proposals for design consolidation, construction, launch and commissioning of the EarthCARE satellite. ESA is presently evaluating the proposals and subject to a satisfactory evaluation and negotiation of the procurement contract, Phase B will commence within the next couple of months. This will be followed by full mission implementation and launch in 2013, in cooperation with ESA's Japanese partners JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) and NICT (Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology).

The decision to involve a partner agency from outside the ESA member and cooperating states underlines the interest and importance of reliable international co-operation for large Earth-observation research missions, both from an engineering and scientific perspective. The success of the EarthCARE mission will build on a favourable decision expected this summer by the Japanese Space Advisory Committee allowing JAXA and NICT to initiate the full implementation of one of its core scientific instruments, the cloud profiling radar. EarthCARE will be the largest of ESA’s Earth Explorer satellites within the Living Planet Programme.

EarthCARE will improve our understanding of the relationship between the three-dimensional structure of clouds and aerosols and radiative fluxes. Clouds are the primary player in the Earth's radiation budget, while aerosols both reflect and trap radiation and furthermore strongly influence the life cycle of clouds. A thorough quantitative understanding of clouds, aerosols and their coupling to radiation is therefore of paramount importance for the understanding of our climate system.

The satellite will carry four instruments to measure vertical profiles of clouds and aerosols with unprecedented accuracy employing a cloud/aerosol Lidar and a cloud radar with Doppler capability, with precise co-located field-of-views. The lidar allows the observation of aerosols and the optically thin regions of clouds (invisible to the radar), while the optically thick region of the same clouds, which cannot be penetrated by the lidar, will be observed using the radar.

The two active instruments will be supported by a 150-km swath multi-spectral imager in order to gain across track information needed for the retrieval of three-dimensional structures of clouds and aerosols. The corresponding short- and long-wave radiation into space will be measured using a broadband radiometer with three viewing directions (nadir, forward and backward), in order to link the observed three-dimensional cloud and aerosol structures to the actual radiances and radiative fluxes.

EarthCARE will not only evolve our understanding of the climate system and improve cloud, aerosol and radiation modelling, but will also contribute to improving weather prediction. Due to its aerosol observation capability EarthCARE will also significantly contribute to air quality monitoring.

Experience presently being gained with NASA's A-Train constellation, in particular from the CloudSAT and CALIPSO satellites with their cloud radar and cloud/aerosol lidar, respectively, will be very useful for the preparation of EarthCARE. Furthermore, the continuation of this kind of observation by EarthCARE brings strong interest from the US science community. This was demonstrated by a large US participation at the workshop, including the principal investigators of CloudSAT and CALIPSO. The impressive results of these missions are highly encouraging for the international scientific community to press ahead with the exploitation of the A-Train data and the preparation for EarthCARE. The workshop was consequently used as an opportunity for scientific discussion and intensifying cooperation with scientists working with A-Train instruments and data.

The success of EarthCARE depends on international cooperation, in particular with the Japanese partners, JAXA and NICT, who will provide the radar, which at its core, uses a 94GHz Extended Interaction Klystron, a development funded by ESA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NICT. This klystron is currently powering the CloudSAT radar and will now be procured, in a further improved version, by NICT for the EarthCARE radar.

Stephen Briggs, Head of the ESA's Earth Observation Science, Applications & Future Technologies Department pointed out, "EarthCARE will not only provide most needed innovative scientific data for climate research, it is also an engineering milestone mission for the development of active remote sensing. Furthermore, it is a programmatic landmark for international co-operation far beyond the ESA member state partners. It will prove that international collaboration is a feasible route for the implementation of complex Earth observation missions of the future."

Tobias Wehr | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaLP/SEM2SK8RR1F_LPearthcare_0.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>