Topic 4b - Part 1: Monitoring aerosols with satellite data products & in situ LiDAR

In this video Seppo Hassinen talks us through AC SAF (Atmospheric Composition Satellite Application Facility), which is part of the EUMETSAT Application Ground Segment. SAFs are dedicated centres of excellence for processing satellite data.

The AC SAF produces a number of near real-time products, including total ozone, tropospheric NO2, and absorbing aerosol index, which indicates the presence of elevated absorbing aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere. Atmospheric aerosols are a suspension of particles in the atmosphere, which can be either be from man made or natural sources. The aerosol types that are mostly seen are desert dust and aerosols from biomass burning and volcanic eruption events.

Aerosols can have very negative impacts on society. Particles that are less than 2.5 millionths of a meter (PM2.5) pose a threat to public health, as they can work their way deep into the lungs
and aggravate or cause breathing problems, particularly for the elderly and the very young. Aerosols can also affect aviation, by reducing visibility and, in situations such as volcanic eruptions, particles can get into jet engines which can lead to total engine failure.

The Aerosol Robotic Network project – Aeronet, has provided long-term, continuous and readily accessible public domain database of aerosol properties for research and validation. The Aeronet collaboration provides globally distributed observations of spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD), inversion products, and precipitable water in diverse aerosol regimes.

Featured Educators

  • Dr Seppo Hassinen

  • Dr Bruno Piguet

Don’t forget you can download the video, transcript and take any quizzes available with the links on the right.

Optional Further Reading

Interactive apps

3D Data viewer - Aerosols

Explore global aerosols data in 3D with this interactive globe. Toggle the data sets on and off using the check box in the workbench located on the left side of the screen. You can also use the tools on the right side of your screen such as “toggle splitter” to view and compare different data layers at the same time. You can also change the base map and map view by clicking on the map icon on the top right of the screen.

Satellite tracking app - Topic 4b part 1

The satellites featured in this topic are as follows:

Metop-a; Metop-b;

You can also use the drop-down menu in the app to view these satellites.


Saharan Dust

This image shows data from GOME-2 aboard Metop-A/B showing large amounts of dust aerosol’s being transported from the Sahara to Greece, Turkey and all the way to Bulgaria.

Tropospheric NO2, Los Angeles - 26th November 2017

Tropospheric NO2 pollution In Los Angeles on 26th November 2017 measured by GOME-2. The main sources of tropospheric NO2 are industry and traffic.

Tropospheric NO2, Los Angeles - 6th December 2017

Tropospheric NO2 pollution In Los Angeles on 6th December 2017 measured by GOME-2. The enhancement of levels compared to the 26th November is due to wild fires.

BrO, Hudson Bay

A burst of BrO was observed by GOME-2 over Hudson Bay sea ice in late January 2018.

Aerosol optical depth forecast

CAMS global forecast of aerosol optical depth for 2nd March 2018

Aerosol optical death, Europe

Aerosol optical death in Europe on the 17th October 2017, when dust from Portuguese wildfires and Saharan sandstorms turn the Sky yellow in the UK.