Observation of Aerosols from Space with the AEOLUS Mission
Dabas, Alain1; Lever, V.1; Flamant, P.2
1Météo-France, Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, FRANCE; 2Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS, FRANCE
The spaceborne Doppler lidar AEOLUS to be launched by ESA in 2015 will be the first high-spectral resolution lidar in space. By high-spectral-resolution, it is meant that the light backscattered by the atmosphere will pass through two interferometers, one large band, the other one narrow band. Provided the system is carefully calibrated, it is possible to measure independently the parallel-polarised backscatter by the air molecules and the aerosols, and thus estimate both the backscatter and extinction coefficients of aerosols without making any prior assumption on the aerosol type. In addition, the independent estimation of both parameters not only characterizes the optical properties of aerosols - which is a valuable information for assessing the impact of aerosols on the energy balance of the atmosphere - but it also gives an indication on what type of aerosol is detected - dust, soot... AEOLUS should be of high value for all the scientific studies on the transport and modification of aerosols, but should also provide useful observations to the numerical models used for air quality predictions. The presentation will explain how AEOLUS can be used for observing aerosols and how the L2A processor designed for this purpose works.