Harmony in the Wadden

#ESA, #Earth Explorers, #Vulkaan, #Zeeën en oceanen

Gepubliceerd op 31 maart 2022

An important milestone in the development of ESA’s tenth Earth Explorer satellite mission, Harmony, has been reached thanks to two aircraft flying in tight formation over the Dutch Wadden Islands collecting key data on sea state and currents. The main purpose of this tricky airborne experiment is to mimic the geometry at which the Harmony satellites will measure various aspects of ocean dynamics to understand how air and the ocean surface interact, which, in turn, will improve weather prediction and climate models.

The Harmony candidate mission concept is currently undergoing the last stages of being assessed as the Earth Explorer 10 mission. A User Consultation Meeting will be held on 5 July 2022, after which a decision on implementation of the mission is expected in September.

Developed within ESA’s FutureEO programme, Earth Explorers are pioneering research missions that show how new measuring techniques can lead to new scientific findings about our planet. Advancing science and technology, they address questions that have direct bearings on societal issues such as the availability of food, water, energy and resources, public health and climate change.



The Harmony concept would comprise two identical satellites orbiting in convoy with a Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar satellite. Each Harmony satellite is being designed to carry a receive-only synthetic aperture radar as its main instrument.

Over land, Harmony would provide data to measure small shifts in the shape of the land surface, such as those resulting from earthquakes and volcanic activity, and therefore it will contribute to risk monitoring. It would also provide new information to study 3D deformation and flow dynamics of glaciers at the rapidly changing marginal zones of the ice sheets for a better understanding of the impact of ice mass loss on sea-level rise.

Over the ocean, Harmony would provide simultaneous measurements of surface wind, currents and temperature, as well as ocean waves – and the recent airborne experiment over the Wadden Islands focused on how Harmony would do just this.

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