Aeolus paves the way for future wind lidars in space


Publié le 15 décembre 2021

It’s hard to believe that ESA’s Aeolus wind mission has now been orbiting Earth for three years and, remarkably, exceeded its design life milestone. Aeolus has gone way further than its original goal of demonstrating that ground-breaking laser technology can deliver global profiles of the wind; its data are being distributed to weather forecasting services across the world in less than three hours of measurements being made in space. Moreover, Aeolus has laid the foundation for future Doppler wind lidar satellite missions.

Being such a dynamic and relatively invisible aspect of Earth’s environment, the wind is particularly challenging to measure from space. Nevertheless, the need for these measurements was identified many years ago by, for example, the World Meteorological Organization which is responsible for the World Integrated Global Observing System. This system, which comprises a vast number of meteorological and environmental observations taken from the ground, ships, upper atmosphere and space, is used by meteorological services all over the world.

Profiling the world's winds

Profiling the world's winds

As part of ESA’s FutureEO programme, Aeolus is an Earth Explorer research mission. But it was also designed to demonstrate how sophisticated Doppler wind lidar technology can address the need for more wind measurements to improve weather forecasts. 

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