The Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM), ADM-Aeolus, is a key part of the European Space Agency’s Earth Explorer programme and is the world’s first-ever satellite to study the Earth’s wind patterns from space.
Aeolus will directly observe wind profiles from space on a global scale and provide data that could result in a breakthrough in weather prediction. The Aeolus wind profiles will find wide application in weather forecasting and climate studies, improving the accuracy of numerical weather forecasting, advancing our understanding of tropical dynamics and processes relevant to climate variability and climate modelling. It is envisaged that Aeolus will be the forerunner of a series of similar operational meteorological satellites in the future.
ALADIN, the Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument, will be the first space-borne wind lidar offering global coverage of the Earth and will create a wind profile showing the relative strength and direction of winds at different altitudes. Measurements will be taken every 0.1 seconds and then averaged over seven second period (during which time the satellite will have travelled 50 km) to obtain wind profiles from altitudes from 0 to 16 km and up to 30 km with less accuracy.
Aeolus also carries an innovative system to protect the laser optics from contamination degradation. This system provides a slow flow of oxygen over the critical optics which are exposed to high laser energy.