World's 1st Wind Mapping Satellite
|Source: European Space Agency - Aeolus|
Aeolus the Wind Chaser
The European Space Agency has just launched the world's first wind mapping satellite. It's called Aeolus. It's the first to measure wind direction and speeds all over the world.
Aeolus' global wind tracking will allow scientists to provide better worldwide weather forecasts. This is the 1st time global wind speeds and directions have been monitored 24/7 from space.
Blowing in the Wind
Until now data on air movement has been gathered largely from the ground or indirectly thru observations from planes or space. Aeolus is equipped with lidar that sends powerful ultraviolet laser light into the atmosphere. It then observes which way the light scatters when they bounce off tiny particles in the air. By comparing wavelengths of the light when it goes out and returns, scientists can determine which way the winds are blowing.
Scientists believe Aeolus will help predict extreme weather and climate change. It will provide global coverage and close current data gaps such as over oceans and at altitudes of 3 to 18 miles.