This past spring, we have conducted and coordinated an airborne measurement campaign called NITROCAM, in cooperation with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB). During the campaign, our SWING+ UV-VIS and TELOPS HYPERCAM LW airborne imaging systems were operated at the same time.
The instrumentation was flown over Antwerp and Berlin, to simultaneously detect and map ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, two key pollutants from agricultural, industrial and urban activity that have a considerable impact on our environment and air quality, and that make up the overall nitrogen cycle. New flights are planned in the greater Berlin area, the Bremen area and Norwich, UK in Summer-Autumn 2021.
The goal of the campaign is a demonstration case for future satellite missions focusing on the global nitrogen cycle at high spatial resolution (0.2-1 km), and more specifically focused on NITROSAT. This is a proposed earth observation mission that has recently been selected by ESA to move on to the next phase of development. It is now competing with three other missions (among which the CAIRT mission in which we are also involved) to become the Earth Explorer 11 mission. If NITROSAT is selected above its competitor missions, it will be able to provide global data on NH3 and NO2 emissions at the extremely high resolution of 500x500 meters.
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