Since the late 1970s, satellites have been used to monitor the atmosphere. They measure factors such as cloud cover, humidity and temperature.
Clouds in climate models
Despite the fact that clouds are often evident to us humans when we look up at the sky, they are more difficult to recreate in climate models.
“By building special software, a satellite simulator, we can have a satellite monitor the atmosphere as the climate model describes it, just like satellites around the Earth monitor our actual atmosphere. We can then better reproduce the cloudiness that would occur when the climate evolves like in the model,” explains Salomon Eliasson, who researches clouds and satellites.
Measures exchange of water between land and atmosphere
The earth's surface plays an important role in both hydrological and meteorological forecasting. With satellites, the exchange of water between the earth surface and the atmosphere is measured over large areas. This exchange affects both the weather and the hydrological situation on the ground.
“Detailed forecasts require a good description of the status in and on the ground where the weather also affects people the most. With this project, we are taking the first small steps towards a possible future for integrated meteorological-hydrological forecasting models that use satellite data,” says Tomas Landelius, researcher in satellites.
Both projects are funded by the Swedish National Space Board and will run from 2015 to 2017.