The ICARE Thematic Center was created in 2003 by CNES, CNRS, the Nord-Pas-De-Calais Regional Council, and the University of Lille, to provide various services to support the research community in fields related to atmospheric research, such as aerosols, clouds, radiation, water cycle, and their interactions. ICARE's initial emphasis is the production and distribution of remote sensing data derived from Earth observation missions from CNES, NASA, and EUMETSAT. One of ICARE's main components is the Data and Services Center, located at the University of Lille, which develops science algorithms and production codes, building on the expertise from various partner Science Computing Facilities, and distributes products to the users community.


December 2013: Innovative atmospheric products
over 8 years of PARASOL observations

Time series of aerosol optical thickness observed by


During its life span of 9 years in orbit, the PARASOL mission provided 8 years and 7 months of global aerosol and cloud observations from mid-March 2005 to mid-October 2013 (see also the previous highlight on PARASOL). PARASOL was within the A-Train constellation during nearly 5 years, providing observations coincident with other instruments.

The scientific outcome of the mission fulfills and even exceeds the original objectives of the mission. PARASOL contributed to global characterization of aerosol and cloud radiative and microphysical properties. The image on the left (Click here for the full resolution image) shows global seasonal averages of aerosol optical thickness. Many other climatologies of aerosols, clouds, water vapor, and earth radiation budget have been produced and are publicly available (see PARASOL gallery). Moreover, the good quality of the measurements and innovative inversion methods led to unique science products. Thanks to polarization, it is possible to get the size of the droplets at the top of the clouds or information on aerosols even over bright surfaces. Also, the combination of POLDER observations with other observations from the constellation, such as the lidar and/or the radar, led to new parameters not envisioned at first, e.g. the macro-physical properties of clouds (altitude and geometrical thickness) or the presence and the quantization of aerosol plumes over cloudy areas.

The scientists are pursuing the improvement of the science algorithms using PARASOL data alone or combined with other data sets.

The full archive of PARASOL observations will be reprocessed in 2014 and the latest version of all products will be available at the ICARE Data and Services Center.

December 2013: The PARASOL mission ended
after more than 8 years of service

The last PARASOL images in natural and polarized light
above the Kamchatka Peninsula. Photo credit: CNES.


These images are the last taken by PARASOL in natural (left) and polarized light (right) above the Kamchatka Peninsula. Click here for the full resolution image.

The PARASOL mission ended on December 18, 2013, exactly 9 years after it was launched on December 18, 2004. The PARASOL scientific mission started on March 12, 2005 after a 3-month commissioning phase. In December 2009, PARASOL left the A-train orbit but kept acquiring observations in science mode while slowly drifting toward later overpass times. The science mission ended on October 11, 2013, when the decommissioning phase begun. The satellite was shut down permanently on December 18, 2013.

The PARASOL mission is a success in demonstrating the usefulness of directional polarized measurements. Scientists now have to be patient and wait several years for polarization or directional measurements, until the 3MI mission onboard EPS-SG takes over.

The full archive of PARASOL observations will be reprocessed in 2014 and the latest version of all products will be available at the ICARE Data and Services Center.


Release of CALIPSO Lidar Level-2
Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) data product
November 2013

The Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) at NASA Langley Research Center in collaboration with the CALIPSO mission team announces the release of a new data product CAL_LID_L2_PSCMask-Prov-V1-00
This new ensemble CALIPSO Lidar Level-2 Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) data product describes the spatial distribution and optical properties of PSC layers observed by the CALIPSO lidar. The product contains profiles of PSC presence, composition, optical properties, and meteorological information along CALIPSO orbit tracks. Data from all nighttime orbit segments from a single day are reported on a 5-km (horizontal) by 180-m (vertical) grid. This new product is available beginning with data date June 13, 2006 (start of the mission).

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