ALTIUS is a space mission aiming at the remote sensing of key atmospheric constituents with a high vertical resolution.
Since the initial idea of the instrument, the project has evolved slowly but steadily until 2016, when BELSPO announced that it would support the mission end-to-end, and the ESA Earth Observation Programme Board officially accepted ALTIUS as an element of the Earth Watch programme. The ALTIUS team at BIRA-IASB continues to work in parallel with industrial partners on activities related to:
- data processing
- instrument/platform simulations
After decades of sustained development, the number of atmospheric profilers is drastically dropping, leaving the scientific community with only a couple of instruments up to 2020. Meanwhile, early signs of a worldwide ozone recovery show a complex pattern: trends vary in sign and amplitude as a function of latitude and altitude, while growing evidence suggests a strong coupling between climate change and ozone recovery.
An instrument capable of following the evolution of the ozone field together with other species such as NO2, H2O, CH4, aerosols—with a good vertical resolution— is mandatory to support modelling activities and, eventually, political decisions.