Monday, March 29, 2010

ESA Meteosat, ADN-Aeolus from DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics

The spectacular mountain range of the east coast of Greenland, viewed from the Falcon aircraft.

The region was chosen due to the strong surface wind speeds from the Greenland ice sheet towards the northern Atlantic Ocean – called katabatic winds.

These winds cause strong movements of the ocean surface and high waves, whose reflectivity was measured with the laser pulses.

Scientists from the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Atmospheric Physics (Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre; IPA) travelled to Iceland for the last of a series of DLR-led technology demonstration campaigns for ESA's meteorological satellite mission, ADM-Aeolus. Its closeness to Greenland and the Atlantic storm track region made the island a perfect base for the test flights with DLR's Falcon research aircraft.

The DLR team spent two weeks in Iceland, performing a total of six flights over Iceland, over the ocean between Iceland and Greenland and over the Greenland glacier plateau. The aim of this DLR-led campaign with A2D was to investigate details of the instrument operations strategy and to refine the ADM-Aeolus data processors that will provide the mission's wind products.

Two different wind lidar instruments – the ALADIN Airborne Demonstrator (A2D), a prototype version of the instrument that will fly on ADM-Aeolus, and a reference wind lidar operating at an infrared wavelength of two microns – were operated onboard DLR's Falcon 20E aircraft, and both performed well throughout the campaign.

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