The scientific demands of the project are based on the knowledge that atmospheric aerosols strongly affect the terrestrial climate and environment, their climatic effects being comparable to those of the greenhouse gases. The accurate quantitative assessment of these effects and, especially, of their anthropogenic components is not currently available, thereby making it difficult to formulate scientifically justified social and economic programs.
- monitor the spatial distribution of key parameters of terrestrial tropospheric and stratospheric aerosols
- provide a comprehensive observational database for accurate quantitative estimates of the aerosol contribution to the climate system energy budget
- quantify the contribution of anthropogenic aerosols to climatic and ecological processes
The project is born on a detailed analysis and justification of an aerosol remote-sensing concept based on precise orbital measurements of the intensity and polarization of sunlight scattered by aerosol in the atmosphere and Earth surface.
The main technical task of the project is to design, build, and launch into the orbit a multi-functional high-precision polarimeter that will allow make an essential contribution to the study of natural and man-made aerosols and their climatic and ecological effects.