Though EnMAP is not specifically designed for atmospheric research, variables that describe atmospheric conditions and atmospheric constituents can be retrieved from EnMAP data. EnMAP is well suited to retrieve concentrations of gases with absorption features in the NIR and SWIR regions of the spectrum like methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, whose detection and quantification are key to climate change mitigation efforts. In addition to greenhouse gases, EnMAP can also contribute to the monitoring of atmospheric constituents such as mineral dust and particulate matter clouds originating from sandstorm areas or biomass-burning. The mineral composition of transported dust is essential to better understand climate forcing, mineralogy of dust sources, aerosol optical properties, and mineral deposition to the surface. Accordingly, scientific tasks related to atmospheric applications include:
- Development of a retrieval algorithms for the retrieval of methane concentration enhancements from EnMAP observations;
- Estimation of figures on the detection limit and total accuracy of EnMAP methane retrievals;
- Development of a retrieval algorithms for the retrieval of carbon dioxide concentration enhancements from EnMAP observations;
- Estimation of figures on the detection limit and total accuracy of EnMAP carbon dioxide retrievals;
- Development and improvement of algorithms to retrieve columnar water vapor based on hyperspectral data;
- Development and improvement of algorithms to characterize mineral dust, and particulate matter clouds; and
- Development and improvement of algorithms to separate cloud thermodynamic phases.