SCIAMACHY is an imaging spectrometer that measures the global concentration of atmospheric gases, such as ozone, carbon dioxide and methane, in the Earth's troposphere and stratosphere. SCIAMACHY is currently in orbit onboard ESA’s Envisat mission, the largest Earth observation satellite ever built .
SCIAMACHY records solar radiation at high resolution after it has been transmitted, backscattered and reflected from the atmosphere over a wide wavelength range, providing insight into many potential types of trace gasses. The large wavelength range is also ideally suited for the detection of clouds and aerosols. SCIAMACHY has three different viewing geometries: nadir, limb, and sun/moon occultations that can be used to add up total column values as well as distribution profiles in the stratosphere and (in some cases) the troposphere for trace gases and aerosols. With SCIAMACHY sources of pollution and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions can be mapped with high accuracy and spatial resolution. The instrument contributes to a better understanding of the atmosphere of our planet and the complex processes that are causing climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.
The Netherlands and SCIAMACHY
A Dutch consortium, funded and guided by the NIVR, built the Optical Assembly and the Radiant Cooler Assembly for SCIAMACHY. The NSO has taken over the NIVR’s role in this project as of 2009. Dutch Space was the primary contractor and provided project management. TNO designed and assembled the optical bench module containing the main spectrometer and was responsible for on-ground instrument calibration. SRON built optical detectors for SCIAMACHY and is also co-principal investigator for the scientific research based on its data. The RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, uses SCIAMACHY data to improve daily life, and KNMI makes data-based images from SCIAMACHY available online in understandable format.