A technical view of the ADM-Aeolus satellite’s Aladin instrument. It incorporates two powerful lasers, a large telescope and very sensitive receivers. The laser generates UV light which is beamed towards Earth. This light bounces off air molecules and small particles such as dust, ice and droplets of water in the atmosphere. The fraction of light that is scattered back towards the satellite is collected by Aladin’s telescope and measured. The movement of the air molecules, particles or droplets cause this backscattered light to change frequencies slightly. By comparing these frequencies with the original laser, the winds below the satellite can be determined.
The mission will provide accurate and timely profiles of the world’s winds as well as information on aerosols and clouds. These profiles will not only advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics, but will also offer much-needed information to improve weather forecasts.