Trace gases are produced and destructed by physical, biological and chemical processes. This natural cycle has been perturbed over the past decades by the global population increase and by the related boost of anthropogenic activities. The composition of the atmosphere is undergoing major and rapid changes with significant impacts on a global scale, affecting the environment and human health. Funding agencies and the scientific community have been putting enormous efforts into studying the impact of these changes. Nonetheless, there is still a need to fill knowledge gaps and enhance the understanding of precursors and the formation mechanisms of the different atmospheric compounds and the relative contribution of biogenic and anthropogenic sources and sinks to their global budget. Such knowledge improvements shall serve as input for policy makers in order to adopt mitigation and adaptation strategies.
In this context, the ESA Atmosphere Science Cluster aims at contributing to these objectives by providing to scientists and data users atmospheric products of current and past missions (e.g. Sentinel-5p, Aeolus, GOME, GOME-2, SCIAMACHY, GOMOS, MIPAS) and promoting networking and international research collaboration to foster the scientific community in atmospheric research. Preparation activities for future missions, e.g. FLEX, CO2M, Sentinel-4, Sentinel-5, EarthCARE, Altius and FORUM are also in focus. The synergistic exploitation of satellite data, in-situ observations and advanced modelling techniques is a key aspect of this interdisciplinary research and is a fundamental step for the understanding of climate change patterns.
Through this cluster, ESA aims at contributing to the establishment of a European atmospheric research area in close collaboration with the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation and other European and international partners.
ESA is funding several projects targeted at addressing specific atmospheric challenges involving different expertise, resources and approaches in coordination with other ESA activities, such as Climate Change Initiative, to bring the cluster to life as part of the ESA Future EO programme.
For more information about the ESA Atmosphere Science Cluster, the ongoing projects and the future opportunities, please, visit the dedicated page.