Aeolus: the satellite that will revolutionize weather forecasts
It will be a major step in improving weather forecasts thanks to a revolutionary laser technology, developed in Italy, which will study in detail the winds around the Earth.
Aeolus is the new satellite launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is named after Aeolus, the ‘guardian of wind’ in Greek mythology. This is the fifth of the ESA’s Earth Explorer missions and will provide data on how the wind influences the exchange of heat and moisture between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere: important aspects for understanding climate change.
To perform this task, Aeolus carries one of the most advanced instruments ever put into orbit, ALADIN-Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument built in Italy by the company Leonardo. Through a revolutionary laser technology, able to generate pulses of ultraviolet light, ALADIN will measure Earth’s winds and will improve our understanding of the dynamics of our atmosphere, making a step forward in the field of weather forecasting.
Although weather forecasts have advanced considerably in recent years, the lack of direct global wind measurements is one of the major deficits in the Global Observing System, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Aeolus, weighing 1,360 kg, will significantly improve the study of winds and meteorology and its data will also be used to generate air quality models, to improve forecasts of dust and other airborne particles that affect public health.