Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
21 Jan 2011
 | 21 Jan 2011

The definition of an atmospheric database for Aeolus

G. J. Marseille, K. Houchi, J. de Kloe, and A. Stoffelen

Abstract. The definition of an atmospheric database is an important component of simulation studies in preparation of future earth observing remote sensing satellites. The Aeolus mission, formerly denoted Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM) or ADM-Aeolus, is scheduled for launch end of 2013 and aims at measuring profiles of single horizontal line-of-sight (HLOS) wind components from the surface up to about 32 km with a global coverage. The vertical profile resolution is limited but may be changed during in-orbit operation. This provides the opportunity of a targeted sampling strategy, e.g., as a function of geographic region. Optimization of the vertical (and horizontal) sampling strategy requires a characterization of the atmosphere optical and dynamical properties, more in particular the distribution of atmospheric particles and their correlation with the atmospheric dynamics. The Aeolus atmospheric database combines meteorological data from the ECMWF model with atmosphere optical properties data from CALIPSO. An inverse algorithm to retrieve high-resolution particle backscatter from the CALIPSO level-1 attenuated backscatter product is presented. Global weather models tend to underestimate atmospheric wind variability. A procedure is described to ensure compatibility of the characteristics of the database winds with those from high-resolution radiosondes. The result is a high-resolution database of zonal, meridional and vertical wind, temperature, specific humidity and particle and molecular backscatter and extinction at 355 nm laser wavelength. This allows the simulation of small-scale atmospheric processes within the Aeolus observation sampling volume and their impact on the quality of the retrieved HLOS wind profiles. The database extends over four months covering all seasons. This allows a statistical evaluation of the mission components under investigation. The database is currently used for the development of the Aeolus wind processing, the definition of wind calibration strategies and the optimization of the Aeolus sampling strategy.