As France’s national Atmosphere Data Centre, AERIS’s mission is to bring together observation and campaign data produced by the French atmospheric science community and to deliver enhanced data and products to users to enable optimal exploitation of observation systems for studies at local, regional, continental and global scales.
Research in this field is focused principally on atmospheric dynamics, climate, meteorology and atmospheric chemistry, including work concentrating more on improving weather forecasts and studying our changing climate, precipitation and storms, air quality and pollution. Understanding the atmosphere’s inner mechanisms is also crucial when studying interdisciplinary processes like the carbon and water cycles.
The data managed and distributed by AERIS therefore encompass all components of the atmosphere, measuring and characterizing greenhouse gases, reactive trace gases, ozone, aerosols, clouds, water vapour, atmospheric temperature, atmospheric electricity, winds and precipitation.
The range of available data is designed to cover all types of products, whether derived from ground-based observations (instrumented platforms, networks and arrays), instruments on satellites, balloons, aircraft or drones, laboratory measurements, inventories or models complementing datasets.
Besides collecting, reformatting and archiving data from sensing instruments and systems, AERIS also performs value-added scientific processing to generate high-level products that derive maximum benefit from sensing systems and synergies. Processing chains are typically operated ‘on the fly’ to produce rapidly available time series, but capacity to re-process data is also available.
AERIS collects and distributes data from most national atmospheric observation platforms and networks. Processing, quality control and reformatting services are also provided for certain data.
Ground data are derived mainly from measurements obtained by remote-sensing instruments (photometers, lidars, radars, etc.) or by sampling (analysers, mass spectrometers, particle detectors, nephelometers, etc.).
AERIS operates in particular as the Data Centre for the ACTRIS Research Infrastructure, which federates national (ACTRIS-FR) and European (ACTRIS-ERIC) acquisition and distribution of measurements to characterize short-lived atmospheric components, i.e., aerosols (dust, droplets, particulate matter, etc.), clouds and reactive trace gases (O3, NO2, NH3, C2H6, etc.).
AERIS manages the French ground stations in the NDACC and INDAAF networks and soon the ICOS network, and provides access to AERONET data. In particular, it allows users to visualize long time series of data and offers access to stations’ archive measurements and to imagery from radar stations operated by the national weather service Meteo France
AERIS is the Science Mission Centre for space missions operated by the French space agency CNES covering the domain of atmospheric research. It operates level 2 and level 3 processing chains, i.e. transforms calibrated raw data into physical quantities, and distributes associated products.
The main space missions in question are POLDER, PARASOL, Megha-Tropiques, CALIPSO and IASI, and in the near future MicroCarb, IASI-NG and C3IEL.
AERIS also merges data from different satellites or pools satellite and ground data. Besides data from French space missions, it thus collects data from MODIS (on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites), CloudSat (NASA), MERIS and AATSR (ESA), GOSAT and GOSAT-2 (JAXA), SSM/I and SSMIS (NASA) and more recently Sentinel-5P (Copernicus). AERIS also operates an extensive programme to acquire, archive and distribute imagery from the fleet of geostationary weather satellites formed by MSG (Eumetsat), GOES-W and GOES-E (NOAA) and Himawari (JAXA).
AERIS manages two types of aerial data:
- systematic measurements from dedicated instruments on commercial airliners (IAGOS)
- measurements acquired for experimental survey campaigns on French research aircraft (SAFIRE)
AERIS is the Data Centre for the European IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System) research infrastructure that acquires readings of atmospheric composition from instrumented international commercial airliners (currently numbering eight). These measurements are sent automatically to AERIS, which is tasked with managing and distributing all products generated for the project. The parameters measured are reactive trace gases (ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides), greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane), aerosols, cloud particles and water vapour.
AERIS archives all data obtained from airborne scientific survey campaigns flown over nearly 30 years by French research aircraft today operated by the SAFIRE unit. These data concern avionics parameters (flight altitude, position and speed) and the flight environment (winds, temperature, humidity, clouds and aerosols), as well as readings from science instruments aboard the aircraft. Through the SAFIRE+ portal, AERIS provides access for research scientists and the public to all aerial research data, from the oldest archive data obtained mainly by the national scientific research centre CNRS’s Fokker–27 ARAT and Meteo France’s Merlin IV to the most recent datasets collected by the current SAFIRE fleet.
Since the Ether Data Centre was formed in the late 1990s, and later AERIS in 2015, data from balloon survey campaigns operated by the national or international science community are managed and distributed in a unified fashion. The great value of such surveys is that they are able to obtain vertical profiles of the atmosphere up to the stratosphere.
AERIS hosts data acquired both from instruments borne by large stratospheric balloons and from sounding balloons and even tethered balloons. Aeroclipper balloons capable of sounding the ocean-atmosphere interface are also a highly valuable source of data, particularly for studying meteorological phenomena like cyclogenesis.
Through the European HEMERA project, AERIS provides archive balloon survey data and an environment to accommodate future campaigns. It also offers tools to visualize balloon trajectories and the ability to represent flight parameters and science data graphically.
AERIS is also actively involved in survey campaigns like the French-U.S. Strateole-2 project to fly three campaigns between 2019 and 2024 to study climate processes in the tropical tropopause and lower stratosphere. A total of nearly 50 balloon flights are planned.
AERIS collects, formats and archives measurements obtained from the French HELIOS and CESAM atmospheric simulation chambers by laboratory equipment used to characterize atmospheric processes related to aerosols, gas components and clouds.
More broadly, AERIS acts as the data centre for the EUROCHAMP-2020 project integrating all European atmospheric simulation chambers within a single infrastructure.
Through the GEISA database, AERIS also provides users with regularly updated spectroscopic parameters of atmospheric molecules measured in French or foreign laboratories.
AERIS manages observation data acquired by science campaigns conducted for various projects (AMMA, MISTRALS, etc.). These data are distributed via dedicated web portals operated by AERIS and are also available through the centre’s main catalogue. Campaigns typically encompass multiple domains and the service provided by AERIS is not limited to atmospheric data, covering all survey measurements including soil and ocean characteristics where applicable. In such cases, links to the THEIA and/or ODATIS data centres are provided. AERIS also offers a range of value-added tools, for example to predict satellite passes for calibration/validation campaigns, and decision-support tools (weather or chemical forecasts).
The campaigns most recently managed by AERIS are MAGIC, EURECA4, SOFOG3D, LIAISE, CADDIWA, AWIT, MOSAI, CERVOLAND and BIO-MAIDO. A full list of campaigns can be found here: https://www.aeris-data.fr/typologies/campagnes/
Databases and inventories
AERIS provides access to international databases like IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) and ECCAD (Emissions of atmospheric Compounds and Compilation of Ancillary Data). It also hosts the GEISA database of spectroscopic parameters of radiative transfers in the atmosphere.
AERIS also manages the BAOBAB and MISTRALS databases, the former holding data from the international AMMA programme (supplemented by other data on West Africa) focusing on the African monsoon, and the latter those of the HyMEx and ChArMEx programmes covering the Mediterranean.