The University of Hamburg has become one of 13 partners to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ninth satellite called “Earth Explorer”. The satellite will measure the Earth’s atmosphere for the first time as part of the Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring mission (FORUM) project, a press release said Wednesday (September 25, 2019). The aim is to observe the effect of clouds and gases in the atmosphere in the infrared range of the light spectrum on the climate. This will facilitate refined measurements of the radiated energy quantity. The satellite is expected to launch in 2026 and will provide data for at least four years.
Complete data acquisition
The new far-infrared method will provide more detailed information about the outgoing radiation. “Most of the energy reaches us in the form of visible light. However, longer wavelengths of infrared radiation are emitted, which have not been measured sufficiently by satellite measurements hitherto,” said Prof. Dr. Stefan Bühler of the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) at the University of Hamburg. Although warming or cooling effects of clouds and water vapour in the atmosphere are already included in climate models, an exact measurement of these so-called feedback effects is not yet possible.
The Earth Explorer missions are part of the “ESA Living Planet Program”. Studies are undertaken to gain a better understanding of the Earth’s system, atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, ice sheets and interior in co-ordination with international scientists.
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