FORUM Unique Far-Infrared Satellite Observations to Better Understand How Earth Radiates Energy to Space

Year: 2020

Authors: L. Palchetti; H. Brindley; R. Bantges; S. A. Buehler; C. Camy-Peyret; B. Carli; U. Cortesi; S. Del Bianco; G. Di Natale; B. M. Dinelli D. Feldman; X. L. Huang; L. C.-Labonnote; Q. Libois; T. Maestri; M. G. Mlynczak; J. E. Murray; H. Oetjen; M. Ridolfi; M. Riese; J. Russell; R. Saunders; C. Serio

Autors Affiliation: INO-CNR, Imperial College, IFAC-CNR, ISAC-CNR, DIFA- Università di Bologna, Università della Basilicata, Metoffice, ESA-Estec

Abstract: The outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) emitted to space is a fundamental component of the Earth´s energy budget. There are numerous, entangled physical processes that contribute to OLR and that are responsible for driving, and responding to, climate change. Spectrally resolved observations can disentangle these processes, but technical limitations have precluded accurate space-based spectral measurements covering the far infrared (FIR) from 100 to 667 cm(-1) (wavelengths between 15 and 100 mu m). The Earth´s FIR spectrum is thus essentially unmeasured even though at least half of the OLR arises from this spectral range. The region is strongly influenced by upper-tropospheric-lower-stratospheric water vapor, temperature lapse rate, ice cloud distribution, and microphysics, all critical parameters in the climate system that are highly variable and still poorly observed and understood. To cover this uncharted territory in Earth observations, the Far-Infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) mission has recently been selected as ESA´s ninth Earth Explorer mission for launch in 2026. The primary goal of FORUM is to measure, with high absolute accuracy, the FIR component of the spectrally resolved OLR for the first time with high spectral resolution and radiometric accuracy. The mission will provide a benchmark dataset of global observations which will significantly enhance our understanding of key forcing and feedback processes of the Earth´s atmosphere to enable more stringent evaluation of climate models. This paper describes the motivation for the mission, highlighting the scientific advances that are expected from the new measurements.


Volume: 101 (12)      Pages from: E2030  to: E2046

More Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding support by ESA FORUMreq consolidation of requirement study, Contract ESTEC 4000124083/18/NL/CT. LP, UC, SDB, BMD, TM, and MR acknowledge the Italian Space Agency (ASI) for the support provided with the research projects SCIEF (Italian acronym of Development of the National Competences for the FORUM experiment, Contract 2016-010-U.0). For SAB this work is a contribution to the Cluster of Excellence “CLICCSClimate, Climatic Change, and Society” (EXC 2037, Project Number 390683824), and to the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) of Universitat Hamburg. We thank Ms. Laura Warwick (Imperial College London) for the support given on Fig. 5 composition.
KeyWords: FarInfrared, Outgoing Longwave Radiation, Earth Explorer9
DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0322.1

Citations: 34
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