"First with GOME and now much better with SCIAMACHY we are demonstrating it can be done. The success so far is an important step on the way to establishing an operational global observing system for the Earth's atmosphere. This is something we need as we enter the geological age of the Anthropocene, where the activities of mankind and its interactions with natural phenomena are the driving force in global climate change.
"Next we are hoping for follow-up satellite missions, in particular from geostationary orbit to monitor atmospheric pollution, which has a strong diurnal variation and thereby determine objectively the changing atmospheric composition."
SCIAMACHY: surveying the world in six days
SCIAMACHY is a spectrometer, and it works by measuring sunlight - either transmitted, reflected or scattered by the Earth's atmosphere or surface in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions. Mathematical inversion of these data yields the amounts and distribution of trace gases, ozone and related chemicals, clouds and dust particles throughout the atmosphere. With a 960-km swath and alternate limb and nadir observations, SCIAMACHY covers the entire world every six days at the equator and more often at high latitudes.
This versatile instrument represents a national contribution to ESA's Envisat mission. It was funded by the German government through the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Dutch government through the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR) and also the Belgian government through the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).
SCIAMACHY is part of a family of atmospheric sounders that also includes GOME on ERS-2 and also the forthcoming GOME-2 instrument due to launch next year aboard ESA's and EUMETSAT's first MetOp spacecraft.
The Dragon Programme is a joint undertaking between ESA, the Ministry of Science
Source:European Space Agency