‘Father of ERS’ awarded Nobel Prize in Physics

By on 12 October, 2021

Professor Klaus Hasselmann, one of three scientists awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics. Image © Daniel Reinhardt/dpa.

Ascientist known as one of the ‘fathers’ of ESA’s first Earth observation mission, ERS-1, has been made one of the joint winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

Professor Klaus Hasselmann in acknowledgment of his contribution to ‘the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming’.

The other awardees for the Physics prize are Syukuro Manabe from the USA and Giorgio Parisi from Italy.

“We send our most sincere congratulations to Prof. Dr Hasselmann for his well-deserved Nobel prize,” said ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher.

“Klaus joined one of ESA’s external expert groups of scientists in the 1970s, and in 1981 became a member of our High-Level Earth Observation Advisory Committee.

“He provided outstanding scientific support and recommendations to ESA, in particular on the development of the ERS-1 and ERS-2 missions.”

The European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS-1) was launched on 17 July 1991.

The satellite carried a comprehensive payload including an imaging synthetic aperture radar, a radar altimeter and other powerful instruments to measure many aspects of our planet. ERS-1 was then joined by ERS-2 in 1995 which carried an additional sensor for atmospheric ozone research — the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment.

Both satellites exceeded their life expectancies, delivering a 20-year stream of continuous data that formed the basis for countless research papers on how our planet works and how it is changing.

Australia has played a key role in the ERS missions, with the CSIRO heavily involved in the development of the Along Track Scanning Radiometer instruments and analysis of the data produced by them.

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