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EarthCARE Satellite Includes Lidar

rendering of EarthCARE Satellite

The EarthCARE satellite — developed by Airbus for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) — addresses two of the fundamental challenges that we face today: climate change and rising temperatures. Clouds are crucial components of our planet’s climate, acting as a key regulator of the Earth’s temperature, heating or cooling it. However, their formation, behavior and interaction with radiation from the Earth and the Sun are not yet fully understood.

From Satnews.

By collecting data on clouds and aerosols — the tiny atmospheric particles such as desert dust, pollution that make up clouds — scientists will be able to reduce uncertainties in climate predictions and improve their numerical models.

Four cutting-edge instruments to read inside the clouds

The two active instruments, the lidar and the radar, have the same goal: to detect the presence and volume of objects and analyze them. Their main difference lies in the type of electromagnetic waves they emit.

The lidar (ATLID), built by Airbus, is an optical sensor. It uses ultraviolet light waves from pulsed laser beams to detect and map small features. Its measurements are processed to create what’s known as a ‘digital point cloud’ that represents the clouds in 3D. It will give information on cloud tops and the vertical profiles of thin clouds and aerosols. This highly precise data will give the exact position and shape of clouds, including their altitude, thickness, and the type of aerosols. This unique instrument was developed based on Airbus’ experience with the first ever lidar to be used in space on board the Aeolus satellite.

For the complete article on the EarthCARE Satellite CLICK HERE.

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