ICARE Highlights

2e atelier TRATTORIA: "Transfert Radiatif
dans les ATmosphères Terrestres pour les ObseRvations spatIAles"

2nd workshop on "Radiative transfer in the atmosphere for spatial observations”
23-25 March, 2015, Polytech’Lille, University of Lille 1


Le CNES organise, avec l’Université Lille 1, la seconde édition du workshop TRATTORIA. Cet atelier sur les codes de transfert radiatif atmosphérique sera l’occasion de dresser un panorama des codes utilisés dans les différentes communautés scientifiques françaises et de discuter des évolutions attendues pour les prochaines années, particulièrement pour les missions spatiales d’observation de la Terre. A la suite de tables rondes thématiques, des recommandations seront émises pour orienter les travaux futurs autour des codes de transfert radiatif. Cet atelier se déroulera du 23 au 25 mars 2015 à Polytech’Lille, à l’Université Lille 1. Les inscriptions sont gratuites, mais le nombre de participants est limité à 100.

The CNES and the University of Lille 1 are organizing the second workshop on Radiative transfer codes in the atmosphere. It will be held at the University of Lille 1, 23-25 March, 2015. The aim of the workshop is to provide an overview of the radiative codes used by the French science community, to foster exchanges between research scientists from multiple disciplines and to discuss perspectives for the coming years regarding spatial remote sensing. Registration to the workshop is free but seating is limited.

CALIOP V4 Level-1 Product Release
November 2014


The Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) at NASA Langley Research Center in collaboration with the CALIPSO mission team announces the release of the following standard data product: CAL_LID_L1-Standard-V4-00
This updated version of the CALIOP Level-1 data product substantially improves both the 532nm and 1064nm calibration accuracies. Changes to the calibration techniques were firmly rooted by a thoroughly documented and peer-reviewed approach.
The version 3.x (3.01, 3.02 and 3.30) CALIOP Level-1 data product will continue to be generated and made publically available, with version 4.0 running in parallel. Unlike version 3.x, which is released continuously following 2-3 day latency from downlink, new releases of the version 4.0 product will be made periodically in discrete blocks.

The product is available beginning with data from June 13, 2006 (following CALIOP first light), and as of this announcement, through December 31, 2013. Remaining data will be available as it is produced.

New product announcement – October 2014
MODIS-like SEVIRI cloud product:
public beta release for evaluation purposes

Cloud top pressure observed by SEVIRI.
Photo credit: NASA/NOAA/LOA/ICARE.


A new SEVIRI cloud product has been developed in the framework of a joint project between scientists and data experts from NASA, NOAA, LOA, and ICARE. This new dataset, called SEV06-CLD, is derived from the MSG/SEVIRI instrument observations using an algorithm that replicates the retrieval core of the Collection 6 MODIS Level-2 cloud product (MOD06_L2 and MYD06_L2) augmented with NOAA GOES-R cloud height product. Moreover, several ancillary datasets are used to produce SEV06-CLD including the SAFNWC cloud type product.

The project team is pleased to announce the public release of the SEVIRI SEV06-CLD beta product at ICARE for evaluation purposes. Users are invited to provide feedback and comments on product quality.

For detailed information on the product, data access and availability, and data use restrictions, please refer to the SEV06-CLD Cloud Product Technical Document. More information will soon be available on the ICARE web site.
The image on the left (Click here for the full resolution image) shows an example of the retrieved cloud top pressure for a SEVIRI slot (e.g. single image).

PARASOL Level-1 and Level-2 data reprocessing underway
September 2014


The PARASOL Level-1 data and all atmosphere products are currently being reprocessed from the beginning of the mission onward using revised algorithms. The Level-1 reprocessing, performed by CNES, began in April 2014 and new files are transferred to ICARE for Level-2-and-up products reprocessing. As of September 1, 2014, PARASOL data from March 2005 to mid-2008 are available at ICARE. The reprocessing of the whole PARASOL archive (until October 2013) is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Changes to the Level-1 algorithm include improved radiometric calibration. For aerosol products over ocean, changes include the calculation of uncertainties, improvement of aerosol non-spherical models and cloud mask, and the implementation of a sea-ice mask. Over land, changes include the use of a higher resolution land biome map and the retrieval of the altitude of the aerosol layer. For cloud and radiative budget products, the solar irradiance was updated.

Data services related to PARASOL will switch to the latest version of all products (L1_B.v03.02, OC2.v11.11, LS2.v10.11) when the reprocessing is complete.

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).


Release of standard and expedited IIR Level-2
Track and Swath data products
October 2013

The Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) at NASA Langley Research Center in collaboration with the CALIPSO mission team announces the release of the following standard and expedited data products:
  • CAL_IIR_L2_Track-Beta-V3-30
  • CAL_IIR_L2_Swath-Beta-V3-30
  • CAL_IIR_L2_Track_Exp-Beta-V3-30
  • CAL_IIR_L2_Swath-Exp-Beta-V3-30
This new version of the products (3.3) incorporates an update to the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) meterological data, switching now to GMAO 5.9.1. The v3.3 products also use enhanced snow and ice data derived from the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). The standard version of these data sets is available beginning with data date March 1, 2013 while the expedited products are only available for 30 days from the data date, at which time the standard release products are available.

Public release of Megha-Tropiques SAPHIR and ScaRaB Level-2 products
Update on Level-1 products and MADRAS status
October 2013

Megha-Tropiques SAPHIR and ScaRaB Level-2 products are now freely available to all registered users through the ICARE Archive Web Interface and FTP server. Level-2 products were produced from the beginning of the mission in late 2011 to present. Three products are available:
  • SAPHIR L2-UTH: Upper Tropospheric Relative Humidity from SAPHIR
  • ScaRaB L2-FLUX: Top-of-the-Atmosphere shortwave and longwave unfiltered Radiances, Flux and Albedo products
  • ScaRaB L2B-FLUX: 1-degree gridded version of the L2-FLUX shortwave and longwave Flux and Albedo products
The French mission group is working on the future release of precipitation products.

Concerning the Level-1 products, the mission group has decided that orbit-wise products require further evaluation and should no longer be distributed to the public until further notice. The segment-wise Level-1 products are available in version 1.06.

Concerning MADRAS, ISRO and CNES announced in a joint communiqué in September 2013 that the MADRAS instrument has been declared non-operational. As of January 26, 2013, MADRAS Level-1 data is not valid and will not be disseminated to users. The 16-month archive of valid data (from launch to January 26, 2013) are currently restricted to the Science Team members and to other accredited users. MADRAS data are expected to be released in 2014.

ESA Climate Change Initiative: First set of CCI-Aerosol products released
July 2013


The CCI-Aerosol project (2010-2013), part of the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI), is designed to provide essential climate variables for aerosols from satellite data. ESA's CCI-Aerosol products are now freely available from ICARE to all users.
Please visit our CCI-Aerosol page or ESA's CCI-Aerosol web site for more information.