CloudSat and CALIPSO within the A-Train: Ten Years of Actively Observing the Earth System

Stephens, Graeme ; Winker, David ; Pelon, Jacques ; Trepte, Charles ; Vane, Deborah ; Yuhas, Cheryl ; L'Ecuyer, Tristan ; Lebsock, Matthew

Année de publication
One of the most successful demonstrations of an integrated approach to observe Earth from multiple perspectives is the A-Train satellite constellation. The science enabled by this constellation flourished with the introduction of the two active sensors carried by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) CloudSat and the NASA-Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) satellites that were launched together on 28 April 2006. These two missions have provided a 10-yr demonstration of coordinated formation flying that made it possible to develop integrated products and that offered new insights into key atmospheric processes. The progress achieved over this decade of observations, summarized in this paper, clearly demonstrate the fundamental importance of the vertical structure of clouds and aerosol for understanding the influences of the larger-scale atmospheric circulation on aerosol, the hydrological cycle, the cloud-scale physics, and the formation of the major storm systems of Earth. The research also underscored inherent ambiguities in radiance data in describing cloud properties and how these active systems have greatly enhanced passive observation. It is now clear that monitoring the vertical structure of clouds and aerosol is essential, and a climate data record is now being constructed. These pioneering efforts are to be continued with the Earth Clouds, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) mission planned for launch in 2019.

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