ICARE Highlights

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.

2e Journée Thématique du Programme National de Télédétection Spatiale
"Synergie innovante entre capteurs de télédétection spatiale"
2nd PNTS Workshop on "New synergy between sensors in Remote Sensing"
14 November 2013, CNES, Paris

Le Programme National de Télédétection Spatiale organise le 14 novembre 2013 sa seconde journée thématique consacrée aux approches explorant la synergie innovante entre capteurs de télédétection spatiale dans le but de promouvoir l'interdisciplinarité et favoriser les interactions et échanges scientifiques. La journée s'articulera autour de 6 présentations invitées de 30 min qui permettront aux participants d'échanger sur leurs expériences, de discuter des dernières avancées dans les domaines concernés et de dégager des pistes prioritaires de recherche qui pourraient bénéficier à l'ensemble des communautés liées à la télédétection spatiale.

The PNTS (French Spatial Remote Sensing Program) is organizing its second workshop on New synergy between sensors in Remote Sensing. The aim of the workshop is to foster exchanges between research scientists from multiple disciplines to discuss recent advances in multi-sensor synergy techniques and identify research priorities.

Release Announcement for CALIPSO Lidar Version 3.3 Products
(April 2013)

The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite mission is pleased to announce the public release of version 3.3 of the Lidar Products (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3) beginning March 1, 2013. This new version incorporates the updated GMAO Forward Processing – Instrument Teams (FP-IT) meteorological data, and the enhanced Air Force Weather Authority (AFWA) Snow and Ice Data Set, as ancillary inputs to the production of these data sets.

Information about the CALIPSO products, including data availability, user documentation and quality statements, relevant links, sample read software, and tools for working with the data, etc. can be found at https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/project/calipso/calipso_table.

These data products are currently available at ICARE and at NASA's Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC). CALIPSO is a joint mission between NASA and CNES.

Browse interface for Megha-Tropiques SAPHIR and ScaRaB products now available – May 2013


Megha-Tropiques browse imagery associated with SAPHIR and ScaRaB "Orbit" L1A2 products is now available. Images are available through a dedicated web interface:

ICARE Third REVEX, 30-31 May, 2013

The ICARE Third REVEX will take place at the University of Lille 1 on 30-31 May, 2013. The REVEX is a biennial evaluation process lead by CNES and CNRS to assess all ICARE scientific and technical activities over the past 2 years. The REVEX is also an opportunity to discuss future prospects. Product quality and overall service performance will be under scrutiny.
Users are encouraged to send feedback by answering a short questionnaire by May 21:

Alternatively, comments or suggestions can simply be sent to contact@icare.univ-lille1.fr

Agenda and talks are now available here (in French).