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Flying for FORUM: a day in the life of a PhD student

25 Mar 2019, 10:51 UTC
Flying for FORUM: a day in the life of a PhD student
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Experiments are underway in the Outer Hebrides in the UK to support one of the candidate missions for ESA’s 9th Earth Explorer: Far infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM).
If selected, FORUM will measure the outgoing spectrum of longwave radiation emitted by Earth from 100–1600 cm-1. It will be the first time the far-infrared spectrum, wavenumbers below 600 cm-1,have been observed from space and will give us new insight into how water vapour, ice clouds and, in polar locations, surface properties, affect the energy emitted by Earth, and hence our global climate. In particular, we will be able to observe how these relationships vary with time and location. Better understanding of the links between cloud, water vapour, the surface and climate is crucial for to predict the pace and scale of future climate change.
The far-infrared is a difficult portion of the spectrum to measure as the photons have low energies and require specialist optics. This is where the Tropospheric Airborne Fourier Transform Spectrometer (TAFTS). It is one of very few instruments capable of making measurements in the same wavenumber range that FORUM will detect. Flying on board the Facility for Atmospheric Airborne Measurements Bae-146 aircraft, TAFTS is ...

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