The international experiment EAQUATE (European AQUA Thermodynamic Experiment) was held in September 2004 in Italy and in the United Kingdom. The Italian phase, performed in the period 6-10 September 2004, was mainly devoted to assessment and validation of performances of new IR hyperspectral sensors and benefits from data and results of measurements of AQUA and in particular of AIRS. It is also connected with the preparatory actions of MetOp mission with particular attention to calibration and validation of IASI products (as water vapour and temperature profiles), characterization of semitransparent clouds and study of radiative balance, demonstrating the role of ground-based and airborne systems in validation operations.
The Italian phase of the campaign was carried out within a cooperation between NASA Langley Research Center, University of Wisconsin, the Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IMAA), the Mediterranean Agency for Remote Sensing (MARS) and the Universities of Basilicata, Bologna and Napoli. It involved the participation of the Scaled Composites Proteus aircraft (with NAST thermal infrared interferometer and microwave radiometer, the Scanning HIS infrared interferometer, the FIRSC far-IR interferometer), an Earth Observing System-Direct Readout Station and several ground based instruments: four lidar systems, a microwave radiometer, two infrared spectrometers, and a ceilometer. Radiosonde launches for measurements of PTU and wind velocity and direction were also performed as ancillary observations. Four flights were successfully completed with two different AQUA overpasses. The aircraft flew over the Napoli, Potenza and Tito Scalo ground stations several times allowing the collection of coincident aircraft and in- situ observations.