Profiling the Wind – measuring world’s winds from space

Profiling the Wind

Profiling the Wind – essential data gathered by powerful lasers, telescope and sensitive receivers

ESA’s Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite launched later this year to measure the world’s winds from space.

The satellite carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit.  The Aladin space craft.  It includes two powerful lasers, a large telescope and very sensitive receivers.

The laser generates ultraviolet light that is beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world’s winds. This is a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

These vertical slices through the atmosphere will improve our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and contribute to climate research.  Along with information it gathers on aerosols and clouds.

As well as advancing science, Aeolus will play an important role in improving weather forecasts. The mission will also complement information about the atmosphere being provided by the Copernicus Sentinel missions.

Anne Grete Straume, Aeolus Project Scientist, ESA

What’s very unique unique about this mission is actually that as soon as we have the data quality up and running and it’s good it will be injected into the weather forecasts. And people in all the European countries will see that back in an improved weather forecast.”

Oliver Reitebuch, Lidar Scientist, German Aerospace Centre DLR]

“You can measure with Aeolus the wind profile globally. …in the tropics, where we don’t have any wind observations today. You can measure it over the oceans. We don’t have any radio sonde launches, balloon launches, over the oceans. And a wide part of the Earth are oceans. And you can measure it in Antarctica, in the Arctic, where all the climate changes is going on.”


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