ESA-JAXA Pre-Launch EarthCARE
Science and Validation Workshop

13 17 November 2023 | ESA-ESRIN, Frascati (Rome), Italy 


The international science community is invited to participate in the EarthCARE Pre-launch Science and Validation Workshop, organised by the European Space Agency (ESA), in cooperation with its partner, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Earth Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) mission objective is to improve our understanding of the cloud-aerosol-radiation interactions and Earth radiative budget, so that they can be modelled with better reliability in climate and numerical weather prediction models. To achieve this objective, EarthCARE will measure the 3D structure of clouds, precipitation and aerosols, together with collocated observations of solar (shortwave) and terrestrial (thermal) radiation.

Specifically, the EarthCARE scientific objectives are:

  • Observation of the vertical profiles of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on a global scale, their radiative properties and interaction with clouds;
  • Observation of the vertical distributions of atmospheric liquid water and ice on a global scale, their transport by clouds and their radiative impact;
  • Observation of cloud distribution, cloud precipitation interactions and the characteristics of vertical motions within clouds;
  • Retrieval of profiles of atmospheric radiative heating and cooling through the combination of the retrieved aerosol and cloud properties 

To fulfil its objectives, the EarthCARE mission will collect co-registered observations from a suite of four instruments located on a common platform. The optical payload encompasses three European instruments, consisting of an ATmospheric LIDar (ATLID), a Multi- Spectral Imager (MSI) and a BroadBand Radiometer (BBR). The fourth instrument, provided by JAXA, is a Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR). 

- The two active instruments will provide vertical profiles of the atmosphere along the satellite nadir path. 

- MSI provides contextual information that allows profile extension in 3D, as well as some aerosol information. 

- Profile data collected on a microscopic level is used in atmospheric models to calculate radiation balance. 

- BBR provides the measured radiation balance from the shortwave and thermal fluxes, for comparison. 

Instrument data will be processed individually and synergistically to retrieve the vertical structure and horizontal distribution of clouds, precipitation and aerosol fields, together with the outgoing radiation, over all climate zones.

The mission is being implemented in cooperation with JAXA, with a target launch date in 2024.