Active Wind Sensing in Europe

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KNMI is heavily involved in active wind sensing. On near-surface wind products are visible from the ASCAT, ERS and SeaWinds scatterometers. Moreover, KNMI is actively involved in the ESA Aeolus Atmospheric Dynamics Mission and researches prospectives for an operational follow-on mission.

EUMETSAT has launched MetOp-A in Oct 2006 with on board its ASCAT scatterometer. It will be shown that at KNMI we succeeded to derive a performing wind product by rescaling the backscatter measurements; a stable and good quality ASCAT demonstration wind product is available now. The current 25-km product will be supplemented later by a 12.5 km product and a coastal ASCAT wind product. In the Atlantic area products will be made available within 30 minutes after sensing (EARS) while elsewhere wind products are now delivered within 1.5-2 hours.

The Aeolus demonstration mission is to launch a Doppler Wind Lidar (DWL) in 2009 providing globally a quality and quantity comparable to the northern hemisphere radiosonde wind profile network. In particular in the data sparse areas over the oceans, tropics and southern hemisphere Aeolus is expected to contribute substantially to atmospheric analyses and forecasts and several projections of this will be shown. The coverage and perspectives obtained from one polar satellite equipped with a DWL are limited. It will be elaborated how multiple polar satellites can improve this situation.

Last but not least, EUMETSAT starts looking ahead to the post-MetOp era and is currently establishing a Mission Requirements Document. It is clear that if all requirements are to be met, intensified international collaboration will be the only way.