Experts gather in Darmstadt for conference on atmospheric science

About 200 scientists from around the world gather in Darmstadt this week for a conference dedicated to atmospheric sounding science.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

SCIR News: ITSC thumbnail image

EUMETSAT is hosting the conference as it prepares to take satellite observations of the atmosphere to a new level, bringing benefits for meteorology and climate science, with next-generation atmospheric sounders due to become operational early in the next decade.

“From 2021, EUMETSAT will launch the next generation of its geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites – Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) and EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) – Second Generation,” Atmospheric Profiling Area Competence Manager Dieter Klaes said.

“The EPS-SG satellites will carry the next generation of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI-NG), which will provide improved hyper-spectral infrared soundings of temperature, water vapour and trace gases with twice the spectral resolution of its predecessor IASI, in the same spectral range. The noise figures of the IASI-NG are half of the ones of IASI.

“The MTG constellation of satellites will include two imaging satellites and one sounding satellite with an infrared sounder and an ultraviolet sounder. This will be a ‘world premiere’ of an operational sounding mission from geostationary orbit.

“This is one of the key innovations in the MTG programme, for the first time allowing Meteosat satellites to image weather systems and analyse the atmosphere layer-by-layer, gaining a 4D view of the atmosphere, including detailed atmospheric composition monitoring.”

SCIR News: ITSC logo image

About the sounders

The Infrared Sounder (IRS) on MTG-S satellites will be able to provide unprecedented information on horizontally, vertically, and temporally (4-dimensional) resolved water vapour and temperature structures of the atmosphere.

In addition, the IRS will allow the monitoring of ozone and carbon monoxide at high spatial and time resolution. By providing operational measurements of carbon monoxide and ozone, the IRS will also make a significant contribution to the space segment of Europe’s Copernicus initiative.

The Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Sounding (UVN) instrument is a Copernicus Sentinel-4 instrument designed for geostationary chemistry and atmospheric composition applications. Funding for the UVN is provided by the European Commission in cooperation with European Space Agency (ESA).

The UVN is a spectrometer taking measurements in the ultraviolet, visible and the near-infrared with a spatial resolution of better than 10km. Its observations are focused on a limited area coverage, from 30°-65ºN in latitude and 30ºW to 45ºE in longitude. The observation repeat cycle period will be shorter than or equal to one hour. ESA is responsible for the definition of the Sentinel 4 mission and provision of the UVN Instrument, whereas EUMETSAT takes responsibility for its operation, the processing, delivery and management of the instrument data.

IASI-NG will provide hyperspectral infrared soundings of temperature, water vapour, and trace gases with a spectral resolution of 0.25cm-1within the spectral range from 645 to 2760cm-1at an average spatial sampling distance of 25km.

EPS-SG will also carry the Microwave Sounder, which will provide all-weather microwave sounding of atmospheric temperature and humidity in the frequency range from 23.4-229GHz, at a spatial resolution of 17-40km, in heritage of the AMSU-A and MHS instruments on the Metop satellites.

About the conference

The International TOVS Study Conference (ITSC) is also known as the International TOVS Working Group.

It was originally formed under the auspices of the International Radiation Commission to foster the use of the data of the TOVS instrument package on the NOAA TIROS-N type satellites (MSU, HIRS, SSU) and later ATOVS (Advanced TOVS) on the NOAA-KLM satellites (AMSU-A, AMSU-B, and later MHS from EUMETSAT and HIRS).

“The first ITWG was held in 1983 with about 10 scientists, and then about every 18 months, with strongly increasing participation. It now attracts about 200 scientists from around the world and covers most sounders in orbit,” EUMETSAT Head of Strategy, Communication and International Relations Paul Counet said.

“Since 1992, EUMETSAT has sponsored the ITSC.”

EUMETSAT’s interest was high, as the ATOVS payload was foreseen for the then future Metop satellites, in common with the NOAA satellites.

EUMETSAT was the developer of the MHS which replaced the AMSU-B, one of its components.

The ITSC has since then developed into a worldwide forum for users of all available sounding instruments.

This includes the hyperspectral sounders like IASI on EUMETSAT’s Metop satellites, but also AIRS, CrIS and many other sensors on international partners’ satellites.

“ITSC has also been an official science working group of the Coordination Group of Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), for some years,” Counet said.

“EUMETSAT has been the permanent secretariat of the CGMS since 1987 and organised the ITSC conference as part of its support to the CGMS.”

The conference starts today (29 November) and ends on 5 December.

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