State of the art wind vane, the space in

51e4b7db968ca5888427126d3bb6e93a - State of the art wind vane, the space in

KOUROU – The Aeolus is a state of the art wind vane that next Tuesday the space should go. The satellite must, from 320 km height, the wind on the earth map. There is still relatively little known about it.

The Aeolus should, from 320 km height, the wind on the earth map.

The measurement of the wind is today by weather stations on the ground, such as at the KNMI in De Bilt. Occasionally go weather balloons in the air. Aircraft after landing by whatever winds they encountered. The problem is that it’s all snapshots. We only know how the wind at a certain moment in a certain place blows. There is no overall picture.

How the wind blows over developed and densely populated areas such as Europe and North America, is still fairly well known, explains Martin Kaspers. The Dutchman is inside the European space agency ESA responsible for the proper functioning of the Aeolus. “But we have no idea of the winds over Africa, South America, the north Pole and the south Pole. We do not know how high the wind is blowing, how fast and in which direction. There are holes in the data,” says Kaspers. And that while our weather in the Netherlands there partly arises.

Better weather

A better picture of the wind to better weather forecasts yield. Kaspers: “eventually a stage may be that many part. When the weather after the recent heat wave turned, there was bad weather. We got code orange. But only at the last moment, we knew, or the bad weather on the west or to the east of the country would pull.” It turned out the nuisance. “With better data, you can prevent alarm unnecessary bet. Assume that the KNMI code yellow is issued and nothing happens, people say that the baloney was. The next time you do it not, and seems to be disastrous. With better data, you can better anticipate.”

The measurements can also help during hurricanes if Irma and Jose, who last year on Sint-Maarten went. Kaspers: “You can better predict which areas you need to evacuate. And you prevent your tools bet where that’s not necessary.”


To the wind to be measured, send the Aeolus laserbundels towards the earth. The atmosphere reflects the rays back. Along the way, changes the signal by which the beam encounters. A special computer system, that by the KNMI is designed, on the basis thereof calculate which winds the radius on the road is encountered. A ’windprofiel’, refers to the ESA.

The satellite goes in an hour and a half around the earth, from the north pole to the south pole and back again. The earth slowly pulls him along, making each track a different piece of the planet comes into the picture. In a week’s time the whole planet is mapped.

The mission of the Aeolus takes at least three years, but there is enough fuel onboard for five years.

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