New satellite launched to monitor cloud interiors and combat global warming

Over 30 years ago, Professor Anthony Illingworth from the University of Reading conceived the EarthCARE project, which aimed to improve weather forecasts and climate predictions by observing the interior of clouds. The project was accepted by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2004 and later became a joint mission with the Japanese space agency Jaxa.

On Wednesday, EarthCARE was launched into space on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Weighing a little over two tons and measuring over 17 meters long, this satellite is equipped with four instruments that will analyze cloud structures, capture images, and measure the amount of sunlight absorbed by clouds.

EarthCARE will orbit the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers. The mission, which cost over 800 million euros, is expected to provide valuable insights into how clouds influence the Earth’s climate over the course of its three-year operation. By better understanding the role that clouds and aerosols play in warming and cooling the Earth’s atmosphere, scientists can potentially help mitigate the threats posed by global warming.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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