The Horizon Europe program has funded the Cloud-Aerosol Interactions and their Impacts in the Earth System (CERTAINTY) project.
The program aims to advance the scientific comprehension of clouds and aerosols in the climate. It is intended to refine and use observations and models to understand and describe the intricate interactions between clouds and aerosols within climate and weather systems.
As part of the program, the new EarthCare satellite will be launched in 2024 to provide new, more accurate satellite-based observations of clouds, aerosols and radiation. In addition, observational infrastructures provide global coverage of the properties of the atmosphere. This will be the main source of data for complex computer modeling used for predicting and understanding the role of clouds and aerosols in weather and climate.
With a budget of €7.2m (US$7.9m) from the EU’s Horizon Europe research program, CERTAINTY will be conducted from 2024 to 2028. This initiative aligns with the EU’s commitment to supporting the transition to a low-carbon, resilient future and climate action in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. Switzerland will provide an additional €880,000 (US$960,000) in funding and the UK will give €800,000 (US$875,000).
Jennie Thomas, project coordinator at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and a researcher at Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE), noted, “We have a world-leading team of European experts to address this urgent science need on understanding the roles of clouds and aerosols in weather and climate. We combine modeling and observation expertise to understand cloud-aerosol processes and their links to global climate and society.”
Harri Kokkola, the scientific coordinator of CERTAINTY and a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute and professor at the University of Eastern Finland, added, “We aim to combine the wealth of data available from satellites, observations and models to improve our understanding of how aerosols and clouds modify weather and climate. We hope to bring certainty in this research topic that has been a persistent source of uncertainty in predicting weather as well as climate change.”
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