Aelous: Orbital Doppler Wind Lidar

New sources of wind information for NWP.

ESA's Core Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus) will provide observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes. It is the first instrument to provide a three-dimensional global coverage of wind observations. The scheduled launch of ADM-Aeolus is mid 2018.



The ESA Earth-Explorer mission ADM-Aeolus will utilise an active High Spectral Resolution Doppler Wind Lidar (DWL) to retrieve wind observations from both atmospheric molecules, aerosols and cloud particles. In addition, ADM-Aeolus will provide information on cloud top heights, the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosol properties.

It is widely recognised that a new global atmospheric observing system, such as ADM-Aeolus, will be beneficial for operational weather forecasting. The provision of detailed wind profiles will also benefit scientists involved with climate research, allowing for greater accuracy in the numerical modeling of tropical regions in particular.

KNMI and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) are responsible for the ground processing wind retrieval software of Aeolus data. Dissemination of the wind product is the responsibility of ECMWF. Besides winds the distribution of aerosols and clouds along the Aeolus satellite track is obtained. The responsibility of this secondary mission product is at Meteo France.


KNMI is actively involved in several projects for mission support in preparation for launch. These include

  • Instrument simulation
  • Definition of instrument calibration and sampling strategies
  • Impact simulation experiments in numerical weather prediction models, including extreme weather events
  • Building and testing the ground processing software
  • Preparation for Calibration/Validation campaigns
  • Definition of future (post-ADM-Aeolus) Doppler wind lidar satellites

In addition we participate actively in an international network for collaborative numerical weather prediction observing system impact experiments, the so-called joint-OSSE.

A list of peer-reviewed papers related to the Aeolus mission published by KNMI can be found here.