Exactly 20 years ago, in summer 1995, DLR received and processed for the first time data from the ERS-2 (European Remote Sensing) the second earth observation Satellite from ESA. A new instrument onboard ERS-2 was GOME (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment), a relative high resolution spectrometer covering the complete UV, visible and near-infrared spectral regions. Analysis of the radiances measured with GOME allowed the determination of the atmospheric composition from space on a global scale.
This was the start of a continuous monitoring of the atmosphere using European sensors. GOME on-board the ESA satellite ERS-2 (April 1995 – July 2011) was followed by the SCIAMACHY sensor on-board the ESA satellite ENVISAT (March 2002 – April 2012) and the two GOME-2 sensors on-board the EUMETSAT satellites MetOp-A (October 2006) and MetOp-B (September 2012).
EOC has today a unique 20-years data record showing the evolution of the atmospheric composition constituents. The operational trace gas concentrations (ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, bromine monoxide, water vapour, formaldehyde) and cloud products generated at EOC are being used in a number of research and operational services covering the monitoring of the ozone layer and air quality, evaluation of risks caused by natural hazards, and climate research applications.
The atmospheric composition measurements from European instruments will be extended during the next 20 years with data from the TROPOMI sensor on-board the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (scheduled launch for 2016) and the Sentinel-4 and -5 missions (scheduled launch for the end of this decade). EOC is currently playing a key role in the development of the retrieval algorithms and processing systems for these atmospheric Sentinel mission.