The Envisat satellite
On 1 March 2002, ESA launched Envisat, an advanced polar-orbiting Earth Observation satellite which provides measurements of the atmosphere, ocean, land and ice.
Envisat data supports Earth science research and enables the monitoring of environmental and climatic changes. Furthermore, its data facilitates the development of operational and commercial
The Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) establishes continuity of the ATSR-1 and ATSR-2 datasets of the ERS series for precise sea surface temperature (0.3 K or better) measurements to assist climate research and for operational and scientific users.
ASAR looks at the Antarctic Peninsula
An Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), operating at C-band, ensures continuity of data after ERS-2. It features enhanced capability in terms of coverage, range of incidence angles, polarisation, and modes of operation. The improvements allow radar beam elevation steerage and the selection of different swaths, 100 or 400 km wide.
MERIS is an imaging spectrometer that measures the solar radiation reflected by the Earth at a ground spatial resolution of 300 m, with 15 spectral bands in visible and near infra-red, and programmable in width and position.
MERIS allows global coverage of the Earth every 3 days. The primary mission of MERIS is the measurement of sea colour in oceans and coastal areas. Knowledge of sea colour can be converted into a measurement of chlorophyll pigment concentration, suspended sediment concentration, and aerosol loads over marine areas, all of which are important for the study of ocean carbon cycle and upper ocean thermal regime. The data can be used for management of fisheries and coastal zones.
West Coast of Africa - First MERIS image
In order to understand the processes which determine the physical and the photochemical behavior of the atmosphere, detailed global measurements of the amount of horizontal and vertical distribution of ozone, in addition to many other atmospheric trace-gases, are necessary. Onboard Envisat the following sensors provide relevant data:
- The Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars (GOMOS)
- The Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS)
- The SCanning Imaging Absorption SpectroMeter for Atmospheric ChartographY (SCIAMACHY)