12 Questions about Tropomi

 12 Questions about Tropomi

Tropomi is a Dutch-made satellite instrument that examines air quality more accurately than ever. Here are twelve questions about the heart of the Sentinel-5P Earth Observation satellite:

What is Tropomi?

Tropomi is a satellite instrument that studies air quality worldwide and more accurately than ever. Tropomi orbits the earth for 100 minutes and at an altitude of 824 kilometers it fully maps the entire Earth’s atmosphere in one day. Tropomi was launched on October 13, 2017. Scientific leadership is in the hands of the KNMI.

What does the name Tropomi stand for?

Tropomi stands for TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument. In short: a satellite instrument that measures the lowest layer of our atmosphere: the troposphere.

What does Tropomi see?

The Tropomi satellite instrument is looking at the Earth’s atmosphere day in and day out with better cameras than ever before. Tropomi has four detectors that together can detect wavelengths in the infrared, visible light and ultraviolet. Thus, the instrument sees the major components of the atmosphere, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, formaldehyde and aerosols.

Curious about what Tropomi’s images look like? Follow KNMI on Instagram and see the world through Tropomi’s eyes.

How accurate are Tropomi’s measurement data?

Tropomi’s detector captures an image of the Earth every second as it slides beneath it. The entire detector has an image area of ​​2,600 by 7 kilometers. Each pixel on the detector covers a piece of Earth’s surface measuring 7 × 7 kilometers. Tropomi can therefore assess the air quality at the level of cities.

Why was Tropomi built in the Netherlands?

Two things are incredibly important in air quality and climate research: collecting data of the best quality and collecting data over a longer period of time. Only in this way can scientists observe changes in climate and air quality. Tropomi builds on the successful Dutch satellite instruments SCIAMACHY and OMI. In this way, we will also be assured of the best scientific data to participate in climate research and to base policy on in the future.

How is Tropomi relevant to society?

Tropomi helps answer pressing questions for the Netherlands. Our country is largely below sea level. If we want to keep our feet dry, we need to know how the climate develops and what measures we can take against climate change. In addition, air pollution carries health risks. Only when we know the origin of this pollution can we take action.

Which satellite does Tropomi fly on?

On the Sentinel-5 precursor. This ESA satellite bridges the gap between two satellite missions in the past (Envisat, EOS Aura) and one in the future (Sentinel-5). The mission ensures continuity in the collection of Earth observation data. Without Sentinel-5 precursor, there would be a gap of several years in the measurement of gases in the troposphere.

Where is Tropomi currently flying?

You can see that and more with the Tropomi orbit tracker and counter.

From where does Tropomi collect data?

The Tropomi measuring instrument orbits the Earth in a polar orbit, 824 kilometers above the surface. Thanks to this orbit, the instrument is able to map the entire Earth’s atmosphere in one day, every day.

What did Tropomi cost?

Development took six years and cost nearly 80 million euros.

Who developed Tropomi?

Tropomi is a collaboration between Airbus DS-NL, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and TNO, on behalf of the Netherlands Space Office and ESA. Airbus DS-NL is the main contractor for the construction of the instrument. Scientific leadership is in the hands of KNMI and SRON. Tropomi is financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Who manages the data and conducts research on it?

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is principal investigator for Tropomi and therefore also responsible for the management of the instrument and for the quality of the data.

You can find more about the Tropomi instrument at its website.

This article has been translated from Dutch. Please find the original post on the website of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) here.

Groundstation.space has direct access to Tropomi technical and space data specialists. Please contact us to find out more!

Remco Timmermans

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