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GLOBAER Call for Proposal is now open for competitive tender
The Invitation To Tender (ITT) for the DUE project "GlobAER", AO4558 in the ESA Invitations to Tender, has been published today on EMITS with a closing date of 12 May 2004.
Aerosols are the small micron-sized particles suspended in the atmosphere that are often visible as haze and smog. They are created by many different processes, both natural and anthropogenic. For example: industrial pollution, sea-spray, wind-blown dust, forest fires, and volcanoes all inject aerosols into the atmosphere. Biogenic processes produce aerosols too, such as the oxydation of dimethyl-sulphide released by marine phytoplankton, and terpenes released by forests.

As well as there being many different sources and types of aerosol particles, they are also important for many different reasons:

  • Aerosols reflect solar radiation back to space causing a cooling of the planet. Some types also absorb sunlight causing a warming of the atmosphere. After clouds, lack of accurate knowledge of the aerosol distribution is the second largest source of error in weather prediction models.
  • They affect the formation of clouds, possibly reducing the rate of precipitation and increasing cloud lifetimes.
  • They have an important role in the chemistry of the atmosphere.
  • Aerosols transport nutrients around the globe. For example, a large source of fertilization of the Amazon jungle is from dust blown across the Atlantic from the Sahel in Africa.
  • Human health is at risk from certain types of aerosols. In particular they can provoke respiratory diseases at high concentrations. Information on the concentrations of particulates, the emission sources, transport and sinks are required by public agencies responsible for monitoring environmental hazards to human health, and in the formulation of policy on local and transboundary pollution.
  • High concentrations of biomass burning or volcanic aerosols can be a danger to aviation, both affecting visibility and by damaging aircraft engines.
  • Optical images from satellites are degraded by atmospheric haze, and correction depends on prior knowledge of the aerosol distribution.

Unlike many of the important trace gases, such as CO2, aerosols are not uniformly mixed in the atmosphere. So it's essential to have quantitative knowledge of the distributions of different types of aerosol for accurate weather predictions, monitoring climate change and understanding global biogeochemical cycles.

The GlobAER project has been developed in coordination with a group of end-users including scientists working on weather prediction, climate change, and transboundary pollution, plus representatives of European agencies responsible for monitoring atmospheric pollution.

The project covers the following activities:

  • Development of a satellite data processing system to generate a standard reference global aerosol product over land and water.
  • Production of the aerosol maps covering 1995–2005, including AOD (aerosol optical depth), Ã…ngstrøm coefficient, and information on the aerosol type.
  • Validation using independent ground-based measurements, such as sun-photometers and lidar.
  • Intercomparison with other satellite-based aerosol data sets.
  • An intercomparison of atmospheric chemistry models for particulate matter monitoring (PM10, etc). The intercomparison is to be based on assimilation of a subset of the aerosol maps into the models, in order to produce daily particulate matter maps over Europe. This activity is in direct support to the implementation of operational air quality monitoring planned under the ESA GMES Services Element.

GlobAER will be a two year project starting mid 2004. The invitation to tender can be found on the ESA EMITS web site.

Related links

EMITS: ESA Electronic Mail Invitation to Tender System

DUE Invitations to Tender in 2004

Annex images