Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Aerosols and Clouds: Improved knowledge through space borne Lidar measurements
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
The role of aerosols and clouds in the Earth climate system needs to be better understood due to their complexity on interacting with the atmospheric components and controlling the atmospheric dynamics. The characterization of clouds and aerosols requires improvement given the diversity of their microphysical and macrophysical characteristics, both in space and in time. Clouds play a fundamental role in the balance of the Earth Radiation Budget and in the hydrological cycle. Aerosol, in turn, behaves in a more complex manner as they can have a direct and indirect effect in the atmosphere. The direct effect can be related directly with the chemical composition of the aerosol and does not interact with any other substances to modulate solar radiation. On the other hand, it can regulate to a great extent the development and evolution of clouds systems, via the so-called indirect effect. With the aim of ameliorating and understanding the role of aerosols and clouds in the global climate scenario, as single components and/or as a system, an extended database can be built taking advantage of a new set of space borne missions based on active and passive sensors. As such the global data of aerosols and clouds optical properties generated from CALISPO, ADM-Aeolus and EarthCARE are envisaged to be part of a long term data base (2006-2016) to better qualify and quantify their role in the global climate. CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) is a joint mission NASA/CNES launched on the 28th April 2006. The mission goal is to provide a new insight into the role clouds and atmospheric aerosols play in modulating the global climate and atmospheric chemistry. ADM-Aeolus is a spaceborne Doppler wind Lidar ESA mission focused on the retrieval of accurate wind profiles, as a main geophysical product. From this mission there are additional geophysical products expected to be retrieved such as the cloud profile and cloud cover, cloud heights, multi-layer clouds, extinction and cloud optical thickness, and in case of tropospheric aerosols, extinction, optical thickness and stratification. The launch is scheduled for the end of 2008. EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) is implemented as one of ESA's Earth Explorer Core Missions (joint mission ESA/JAXA/NICT) to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of instrument synergy for cloud-aerosol-radiation interactions. The launch is scheduled for the end of 2012. The usefulness of combining the data of these three missions would be enormous regarding the current insufficient understanding of the role of clouds and aerosols in the current climate and also crucial for improvement of NWP (Numerical Weather Prediction) models, via data assimilation, for global and regional applications.