Off to Greece to check out the atmosphere

From Dirk (ESA), NL, 29 August

Dirk Schuettemeyer

I’m leaving the Netherlands to take part in a campaign called ‘Carbonexp’ – an ESA airborne campaign to measure the chemical and physical properties of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. We’re carrying out the experiment on the island of Crete in Greece between 31 August and 9 September.

 These tests are going to be important for future atmospheric satellite missions such as the Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 that ESA is building for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, and also for the development of CarbonSat, which is one of the candidate missions for ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer.

This is an airborne campaign – meaning the measurements will be taken from an aircraft. In total, we are planning nine flights. As well as taking measurements for ESA, we are supporting two other projects funded by the European Facility for Airborne Research that also need data on the physical and chemical properties of aerosols over the Aegean Sea.

The FAAM BAe146 aircraft carries a light detection and ranging system, commonly known as a lidar, which provides high-resolution profiles of the atmosphere. We hope to observe significant aerosol layers over Greece and Turkey by means of the lidar and then dive into the layers to measure size, composition, and concentration.

Three flights are planned so that it underflies the GOSAT satellite operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. The GOSAT satellite carries the first real space-based instrument for this kind of observations and is used as a reference for future science studies.

The aircraft arrived at the Chania airport in Crete last Sunday from Pescara in Italy, so it’s ready and waiting to start the campaign.

We’re looking forward to getting started – so check back on the blog as we’ll keep you posted with the latest news.

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