What is Aeolus?
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus will provide global observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes.
Although there are several ways of measuring wind from a satellite, Aeolus will utilise the active Doppler Wind Lidars (DWL) method. This is the only method that has the potential to provide the required data globally, from direct wind observations. In addition, a DWL will provide information on cloud top heights, vertical distribution of cloud, aerosol properties, and wind variability. This information is a useful by-product of the DWL method.
An improved model of the Earth's climate and atmosphere will lead to progress in numerical weather prediction (NWP), especially concerning long-term forecasting. It is widely recognised that a new global atmospheric observing system, such as Aeolus, will have a great effect upon operational weather forecasting. The provision of detailed wind profiles will also benefit scientists involved with climate research, allowing for greater accuracy in the numerical modelling of tropical regions in particular.
The Aeolus mission was launched on 22 August 2018.
21 April 2020
We are all too aware that COVID-19 is a serious threat to health, is putting huge pressure on healthcare systems and it could leave the global economy struggling for years to come. With lockdown measures in force across the globe, the pandemic is also affecting aspects of everyday life that may not be so obvious. The drop in commercial flights, for example, has led to fewer measurements for weather forecasts, but fortunately, ESA's Aeolus satellite mission is helping to fill the gap.
10 January 2020
ESA's Aeolus satellite has been returning profiles of Earth's winds since 3 September 2018, just after it was launched – and after months of careful testing these measurements are considered so good that the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is now using them in their forecasts.