EarthCARE data overview

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ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / The Living Planet Programme / Earth Explorers / EarthCARE

Calibrated Level 1b data for the Atmospheric Lidar (ATLID), the Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) and the Broad-Band Radiometer (BBR) will be produced by ESA and Level 1b data for the Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) will be produced by JAXA. Instrument Level 1b data will be distributed to registered users.

Both ESA and JAXA will produce and exchange Level 2 data products for dissemination to each Agency’s user community.

The list below notes the foreseen Level 1b products.


    Attenuated backscatter signals in three channels: Rayleigh channel, Co-polar Mie,Cross-polar Mie
  • CPR
    Radar reflectivity and Doppler profiles
  • MSI
    Top of the atmosphere radiances for four solar channels, top of the atmosphere brightness temperatures for the three thermal channels
  • BBR
    Top of the atmosphere long-wave and total-wave radiances

Level 2 data products are geophysical products retrieved from Level 1b data plus auxiliary data, such as meteorological data (source: ECMWF).

Level 2 data products will include:

  • Vertical profiles of cloud ice and liquid water content and effective particle and droplet size, cloud top and base heights, including multilayer clouds, fractional cloud cover and overlap
  • Vertical profiles of aerosol extinction and boundary layer heights and aerosol type
  • Synergistically retrieved 3D cloud and aerosol scenes
  • Observed top-of-the-atmosphere broadband radiation and radiative properties (top of the atmosphere and surface fluxes and vertical heating profiles) estimated from the retrieved cloud and aerosol fields

The particular strength of the data products will be derived through the exploitation of the synergy between the four instruments.

The Level 2 data products fall into two groups:

  • Level 2a data products are geophysical parameters retrieved from any one single instrument
  • Level 2b data products are geophysical parameters retrieved from the synergistic exploitation of two or more instruments, ‘synergistic products’

The following lists show the main recommended Level 2a and Level 2b data products to be jointly developed by ESA and JAXA. The details of the data products and the theoretical basis of their retrieval algorithms will be made available in due course.

Level 2a–ATLID

  • feature mask and target classification
  • extinction, backscatter and depolarisation profiles
  • aerosol properties
  • ice cloud properties

Level 2a–CPR

  • radar echo product
  • feature mask, cloud type, liquid and ice cloud properties
  • vertical motion
  • rain and snow estimates

Level 2a–MSI

  • cloud mask
  • cloud microphysical parameters
  • cloud top height
  • aerosol parameters

Level 2a–BBR

  • unfiltered radiances
  • short-wave and long-wave fluxes

Level 2b – synergistic derived cloud and aerosol products using combinations of ATLID and/or CPR and/or MSI data

  • target classification**
  • cloud and precipitation best estimates**
  • vertical motion within clouds**
  • cloud top height*
  • cloud fraction, overlap and averaged microphysics**
  • aerosol column descriptor*
  • 3D cloud and aerosol scenes***

*1D value from combination of ATLID and MSI data
**2D profiles along satellite ground track
***full 3D scenes derived from the 2D parameters** in combination with MSI across-track information

Level 2b – synergistic radiation products

  • BBR unfiltered radiances improved by inclusion of MSI data
  • Top of the atmosphere fluxes from BBR improved by inclusion of MSI data
  • Radiative properties (including top of the atmosphere radiances and fluxes) calculated from Level 2b product 3D cloud and aerosol scenes using 1D and 3D radiative transfer models
EarthCARE data products
EarthCARE data products

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