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Institute for Energy and Climate Research

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PREMIER is a satellite mission for exploring the upper tropsphere and stratosphere studied in phase A for ESA Earth-Explorer 7. The aim is to improve climate forecasts by a better understanding of the region of largest radiative impact. For a first time, mesoscale structures such as filaments, tropopause faults or GWs will be measured from space in 3D and with adequate spatial resolution.

PREMIER is one of three candidate-missions currently studied in phase A for Earth Explorer-7. The missions were selected out of 24 proposals submitted in response to the call issued by ESA in 2005. PREMIER will make use of recent advances in detector technology and image the limb in 2D, simultaneously taking more than 850 infrared spectra. Spectra are taken every 50 km as the satellite moves along the orbital track resulting in 3D data. The true spatial resolution of retrieved temperature and trace gas measuremnts will be better than 30km x 60km x 1km for across-track x along-track x vertical, combining the excellent vertical resolution of limb-sounding measurements with horizontal resolutions comparable to nadir sounders. Altitudes between 5km and 55km are covered.

Measuring a large number of trace species, structures of troposphere-stratosphere exchange can be directly imaged. Furthermore, the new measurements promise a break-through in GW research as for the first time direction resolved gravity wave momentum flux can be observed for a major part of the wave spectrum and with good accuracy. Such global measurements are in urgent need to better understand an important dynamical driving source of the middle atmosphere circulation, which is not adequately taken into account in current climate and weather models.

IEK-7 takes a major role in the PREMIER proposal team and coordinates three of the four ESA-funded projects which shall demonstrate the matureness and scientific impact of the mission concept. IEK-7 and IMK-KIT are currently building the PREMIER prototype GLORIA to be deployed on research aircrafts.

  • Science Impact Study (coordinated by IEK-7)
  • Observations of gravity waves from space (coordinated by IEK-7)
  • ESa Sounder Campaign (ESSenCe), (coordinated by IEK-7)
  • COnsolidation of Requirements Study (CORSA), (coordinated by Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory)

Science targets of the PREMIER mission

PREMIER will measure infrared and microwave radiation emitted by the Earth's atmosphere (passive sounding). Three dimensional mapping allows to directly visualize essential processes in the upper troposphere and stratosphere. In particular, greenhouse gases have their largest climate impact at altitudes between 10 and 25 km. The chemical and dynamical processes controlling the composition at these altitudes are therefore of high relevance for future climate.