MERLIN: French-German climate satellite to be launched in 2014

September 2010

The Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IPA) is highly engaged with the development of the French-German satellite mission MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission). Over three years it has to be demonstrated that regional emission structures of the atmospheric trace gas methane and their temporal variations can be determined by active remote sensing techniques with good accuracy. As an effective greenhouse gas methane is an important component in the context of global climate change.

The French space agency CNES organises the launch of the satellite platform to an orbit in 650 km altitude, scheduled for 2014. The decisive measuring instrument, a two-wavelength laser equipment, is based on concepts and technical applications, which are developed and refined since some 10 years at IPA. Two adjacent wave lengths at 1.645 μm are well suited to determine the methane concentrations in lower layers of the atmosphere, which are close to the emitters at the surface. The horizontal resolution amounts to some 50 km.

Additional information:
regarding project MERLIN
regarding earlier project CHARM


Dr.rer.nat. Gerhard Ehret
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Lidar Department
Tfn: +49 8153 28-2509
Tfx: +49 8153 28-1841


URL for this article