EarthCARE is an earth observation satellite that Japan and Europe have been jointly developing. Using its four sensors (Cloud Profiling Radar, Backscatter Lidar, Multi-Spectral Imager and Broadband Radiometer), clouds and aerosols (small particles like dust and dirt that exist in the earth's atmosphere) will be observed on a global scale to improve the accuracy of climate change predictions.
Climate change predictions are carried out by simulating the climate on computers. The accuracy of these simulations essentially depends on how accurate the data is portrayed from natural phenomena. However, as all natural phenomena related to climate changes are not yet understood, current predictions are sometimes unreliable. The biggest cause of this is said to be the effects from clouds and aerosols in radiation balance of the Earth's atmosphere.
With the EarthCARE mission, observations will be carried out on the distribution of cloud particles and aerosols in a vertical direction and speed measurements performed on cloud particles ascending and descending. These have never previously been thoroughly observed. Through this, the mechanism of radiation balance in interaction between clouds and aerosols can be solved and improvements in climate change predictions are expected.
Aug. 6, 2008
To Preserve Our Earth