One of the current ESA Earth Explorer missions is Aeolus, launched on 22 August 2018. The goal of this project is global determination of wind parameters, measured in each case during the night portion of the orbit. This will be accomplished by emitting UV laser pulses into the atmosphere and recording the backscattered signal. Vertical profiles of horizontal wind components can be derived from the Doppler shift of the pulses. Improved understanding of wind fields in the troposphere and lower stratosphere will aid weather prediction as well as atmosphere and climate research. Aeolus will lay the groundwork for similar applications for active optical sensors as a preparation for later routine lidar missions.
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