What is the MERLIN mission?

Methane (CH4) is second most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 25 times larger than that of CO2. It has the strongest change in concentration due to human activities, which led to doubling of its abundance since pre-industrial times. The uncertainty of anthropogenic emissions from gas leaks and incomplete combustions are much higher than for human CO2 emissions. Especially the climate impact of the CH4 reservoir in
Arctic permafrost is an important unknown in modelling future climate.

For this reasons Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy decided back in February 2010 to develop andlaunch a joint French-German methane monitoring mission, which was part of the Franco-German Agenda 2020.

French German colaboration on the MERLIN mission

MERLIN system architecture

French German colaboration on the MERLIN mission

“Two key characteristics determine the impact of different greenhouse gases on the climate: the length of time they remain in the atmosphere and their ability to absorb energy. Methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime than carbon dioxide (CO2) – around 12 years compared with centuries – but absorbs much more energy while it exists in the atmosphere.”

Find out more

Mission overview

All relevant details about the satellite, payload, platform and orbit

Overview of the IPDA Lidar and on the methane detection from space

Details on the launch and the vehicle will be shown here.