Watching how the winds blow
BERLIN: Europe plans to launch a satellite on Wednesday that will use new laser technology to measure the winds sweeping across Earth and help scientists forecast changes in weather more accurately.
The Aeolus mission will provide scientists with data on winds in remote areas, such as over oceans, that they have not been able to get from weather balloons, ground stations and aircraft but which are crucial to predicting changes in weather.
“Forecasting is of course still limited, but then we will certainly be able to understand the processes better that lead to extreme weather phenomena,” Paolo Ferri, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) head of mission operations, said ahead of the launch.
Many scientists warn that global warming will result in more frequent and intense heatwaves, precipitation and storms, causing billions of euros in damage and costing thousands of human lives every year.
Better weather forecasts will allow scientists to warn the population when hurricanes are heading their way and predict weather patterns such as El Niño, which can cause crop damage, fires and flash floods.
The Aeolus mission is scheduled to blast off from Europe’s space port in Kourou, French Guiana. – Reuters