April 17, 2015


2015 Events

April 14, 2015

  • Monitoring in near real time of the ammonia emissions by IASI

Scientists from Pierre Simon Laplace Institute and a team from the Free University of Bruxelles succeeded in processing for the first time in near real time IASI instrument data to extract information about the ammonia atmospheric concentration which enabled to monitor continuously the ammonia emissions responsible for the high pollution of the past weeks in Europe. These works should lead to improvement of the forecast of such pollution events.

Observations d'ammoniac par la mission satellite IASI, pour les journées du 6 au 9 avril 2015. Des émissions importantes sont observées en Bretagne, en Angleterre, en Espagne et dans la vallée du Pô. © Martin Van Damme (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Observations of ammonia by IASI, for April 6 to 9, 2015. Major emissions are observed in Bretagne, England, Spain and in the Pô valley. © Martin Van Damme (Free University of Bruxelles).

Source: CNRS-INSU news, the complete news is available on the INSU website (in French)

2014 Events

October 10, 2014

  • Why such an ozone pollution in the Mediterranean?

Why does the Mediterranean Basin have every summer high increases of tropospheric ozone concentrations? By relying on data from the infrared sounder IASI on board MetOp satellite, scientist from the LATMOS (Laboratoire atmosphères, milieux, observations spatiales) and the LISA (Laboratoire inter-universitaire des systèmes atmosphériques), in collaboration with Belgian scientists (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and CNES support, shown for the first time the temporal variability of the ozone concentrations over all the Basin. They also demonstrated that its mainly the meteorological conditions that lead to these summer ozone peaks.

Source: CNRS-INSU news, the complete news is available on the INSU website (in French)

March 7, 2014

  • Decision of the CNES/EUMETSAT Steering Committee to repair the Flight Model 3 (FM3)

An anomaly, being a de-lamination of the protection (in NiP) of the magnets, followed by an oxidation of the material in contact with the surrounding air, was seen in March 2013 on the motor of one corner cube mechanism, stored on ground. The same kind of magnets equips the Corner Cube and the Scan of IASI instruments. The researches to understand the origin of this default failed to exonerate the magnets mounted on the flight models. But no performance degradation could be observed on the mechanisms in orbit. Considering the remaining delay before Metop C launch, and the impossibility to guaranty that the magnets would not be deteriorated later, the CNES/EUMETSAT Steering Committee decided to replace all the motors' magnets. Work in this direction had been started as early as summer 2013. A new Scan mechanism is being built and will be substituted to the one mounted on the FM3. New motors are being developed for the Corner Cube mechanism and will be mounted to replace the ones that are now in place, without re building a completely new mechanism. The instrument will then be submitted to a complete sequence of tests. It should be ready for delivery by the beginning of 2016. EUMETSAT asked CNES to conduct the repair program. CNES contracted with Thales Alenia Space, developer of the instrument, for the implementation of the repair operations.

January 17, 2014

  • First monitoring of pollution peaks in Chine by infrared satellite
    Different man-made pollutant plumes (notably fine particles and carbon monoxide) located at ground level were detected over China for the first time from space. These studies were realized by a LATMOS (Laboratoire ATmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (CNRS / UPMC / UVSQ)) team in collaboration with Belgian scientists with CNES support, from IASI infrared sounder measurements, on board MetOp satellite. Their original results were published on line in Geophysical Research Letters review on January 17, 2014. They constitute a major progress in order to improve the regional pollution monitoring and the forecast of localised pollution events, notably in China.

Space distributions of CO and SO<sub>2</sub> measured by IASI/MetOp sounder on January 12, 2013 over China. From blue to red, the colors indicate the pollutant concentrations from low to high. The white areas correspond to clouds or no data. © Anne Boynard (LATMOS-IPSL, CNRS / UPMC / UVSQ)
Space distributions of CO and SO2 measured by IASI/MetOp sounder on January 12, 2013 over China. From blue to red, the colors indicate the pollutant concentrations from low to high. The white areas correspond to clouds or no data. © Anne Boynard (LATMOS-IPSL, CNRS / UPMC / UVSQ)

For more details read the Press Release (in French).

You will find, also in French, a radio interview of Cathy Clerbaux and Anne Boynard at "la tête au carré", (from 14:04 to 22:14) and the topic relayed by RTBF TV news with Cathy Clerbaux and Pierre-François Coheur.

The animation about IASI and the atmosphere composition is available on IPSL website (in French).

2013 Events

October 2, 2013

  • First observation of ozone plumes in the very low troposphere from satellite data
    For the first time, thanks to a new method based on the synergy measurements of IASI probe in the infrared and GOME-2 in the ultraviolet, ozone plumes located in the very low troposphere (under 3 km altitude) could be observed and their ozone content estimated using only satellite data. this unprecedented method was developed by scientists from the LISA/IPSL (Laboratory Inter-universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, CNRS / UPEC / Paris Diderot University), in collaboration with the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics (USA), the Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie (Germany) and the Chinese academy of sciences (China). this major progress will allow to improve the characterization and the forecast of the quality of the air at regional and global scales.

Source: CNRS-INSU news, the complete news is available on the INSU website (in French)

February 4 to 8, 2013

  • The next IASI conference will be held from 4 to 8 February 2013
    The next IASI conference will be held in Hyères from 4 to 8 February 2013. This conference will be an opportunity to review the results of 6 years of operating data from the IASI instrument on the orbiting satellite Metop-A since 2006. It will also prepare for the arrival of data from the second model launched on September 17 with Metop-B.

3rd IASI conference from 4 to 8 February 2013

For more information about this conference, please visit http://www.iasi2013.com/accueil.html

January 10, 2013

  • IASI-B CalVal activities status
    Here are the last news to this day (all activities to be done are in the new PDF file, in green what's already done):
  • The on board processing parameters have been optimized. They will be uploaded in a few days. With these new parameters, the quality as well as the availability of the spectra from the on board processing are increased (more than 99% of availability after acquisition of the interferograms and the on board processing).
  • In parallel, the adjustment of the ground segment parameters (level 1 chain) has been realized. Nowadays we have users spectra which "spectral", radiometric" and "geometric" quality is near or better than the specified requirements level.
  • The inter-calibration activities has begun, confirming the quality of the data.
  • A last optimization loop will begin after the first diffusion IASI-B data to a selected group of users (last delivery of the CNES on January 14, CNES/EUMETSAT (PVRB) joint meeting for the dissemination decision on January 21). This dissemination respects the initial planning. It will allow to have the first users feedback (weather, chemistry, climate) for the 3rd IASI conference (4 to 8th of February).
  • Good news: A 200K decontamination is not necessary before several months.

2012 Events

November 22, 2012

  • IASI-B CalVal activities status
    Here are the striking news to this day (all activities to be done are in the new PDF file, in green what's already done):
  • The programmings in EXT-CAL are done by Eumetsat control center, notably the programming of the 2 EXT/CAL METOP-A and METOP-B which will take place next Monday to realize the first IASI-A/IASI-B inter-calibration: what will be IASI-B results compared to IASI-A?
  • The data scattering to a reduced user community is still on plan for the end of January 2013, before IASI seminar. A column showing the the progress of the operations related to this event was added to the summary file, with the expected verification level.
  • A movie named "IASI-B first light" was produced. You will find it below. It will be improved for the different targeted public, in consultation with the communication experts.

IASI-B first light
vidéo "IASI-B first light"

November 7, 2012

  • IASI-B CalVal activities status
    Here are the striking news to this day (all activities to be done are in the PDF file, in green what's already done):
  • All data are correctly received by the TEC.
  • A new TOP (DPS on board parameters) has been uploaded (update of the non-linearity tables, effect of the decrease by 0.5°K on the CBS), the analysis is under way.
  • The first performance measurements are promising.
  • The IASI-A/IASI-B inter-calibration will take place by the end of November: nothing is better than IASI to compare itself!
  • Everything goes as planned. The activity is intense but serene.
  • The data scattering to a reduced user community is still on plan for the end of January 2013, before IASI seminar.
  • The movie "IASI-B first light" is nearly finished. you will have it with the next instalment :)) While waiting, here is another movie which was realized at the TEC: IASI experts at CST, duration 3'17'', on Dailymotion. It shows off this team which work in these particular phases but also in more routine phase:

IASI experts at Centre Spatial de Toulouse
IASI experts at Centre Spatial de Toulouse by CNES (in French)

October 30, 2012

  • IASI/METOP-B: successful functional in-flight commissioning
    This first IASI/METOP-B spectrum, acquired over the Davis strait between Groenland and Canada, could be mistaken for the first spectrum obtained by IASI/METOP-A nearly 6 years ago.
    It is a very good sign!

First IASI/METOP-B spectrum
First IASI/METOP-B spectrum

Functionally, the instrument is fully operational, the "in-flight commissioning" team composed of instrument and command/control skills now hands over the work to the CAL/VAL team, located at the Technical Expertise Centre which is lead by the IASI performance expert. Now they need to finalize the fine tuning of the instrument and the processing chains so that IASI/METOP-B, as its in orbit predecessor, produce validated data that can be used by the weather forecast centers of the world, the atmosphere chemistry scientists, the air warning systems for the volcano plumes, the pollution monitoring, the long term climate monitoring...

Read the CNES - EUMETSAT Press Release

October 23, 2012

  • First heart beat for IASI/METOP-B
    Here is the first electrocardiogram of IASI/METOP-B (in technical speech the first PPD of the CCM (Cube Corner Mechanism)): it is perfect! IASI heart beats very well, promising for the next in-flight commissioning operations! IASI should open its eyes in the next few hours.

PDD CCM Auxiliary mode Metop-B 23/10/12
PDD CCM Auxiliary mode Metop-B 23/10/12

October 19, 2012

  • IASI/METOP-A celebrates today its six anniversary in orbit
    Today IASI/METOP-A celebrates its 6 years in orbit with its twin on METOP-B, still in functional in-flight commissioning.
    IASI/METOP-A performances are still excellent and they will be presented during the REVEX (Exploitation Review) on December 13, at CNES (Toulouse, France).
    IASI/METOP-B passed the decontamination phase that consisted in getting rid of every traces of pollutants in the detection cavity. The corner cube, mechanical heart of the instrument, has been released. The functional in-flight commissioning is nominal and should finish by the end of October. The validation and calibration phase will follow to ensure the optimal performance of the instrument as well as the ground processing chain.

The image below shows the last view of IASI/METOP-B, before its installation under the Soyouz fairing. It is one of the rare images where a "naked" IASI can be seen, without its protective elements.

View of IASI on METOP-B during the installation under the fairing, in Baikonur, in September 2012. © M. Cohen - Eumetsat - 2012
View of IASI on METOP-B during the installation
under the fairing, in Baikonur, in September 2012.
© M. Cohen - Eumetsat - 2012

September 17, 2012

  • Successful launch of Metop-B satellite
    The Metop-B satellite including the second model of IASI was successfully launched on September 17 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with a Soyuz rocket. The role of Metop-B is to ensure continuity of observations from a polar orbit. It will take over from Metop-A, which was launched in 2006 and has exceeded its initial lifetime of 5 years. The two satellites should be used together in the first place, which will temporarily allow inter-calibrations and the production a larger number of measurements.

After the sequence enabling the switching of the platform to routine configuration, the anti-contamination lines protecting the entry of IASI cold box from contamination, have been turned ON at 00h02 on the 18/09/12.
IASI is in survival configuration, the survival thermal control converge and function correctly.
After the PLM (Payload Module) configuration activities, IASI will be switched ON on the 21/09/12. IASI first level thermal control will then be activated and should converge on the 22/09/12 morning allowing switching IASI in DECONTAMINATION mode for 21 days, in order to eliminate the pollutants due to the launch and after desorption of the equipments.

At the end of this phase the cube corners mechanisms will be unlocked, the software configured, and IASI will pass in operational mode. A first initialization of the on board science data processing algorithms will be realized on the 23/10/12 for an end of in flight commissioning scheduled on the 29/10/12. Then the CALVAL phase will begin and will consist in realizing a fine tuning of the on board and ground algorithms, in order to optimize the instrument performances.

Read also the CNES/CNRS/Meteo-France press release (in French) or the EUMETSAT press release.

September 5, 2012

  • Smelling sulphur dioxide
    While piloting a commercial transatlantic flight last year, Captain Klaus Sievers and his crew got a whiff of an unusual odour. In a confined space 10 km up in the air, there was only one thing it could be.
    The foul smell with traces of sulphur in the cockpit came from none other than the Grímsvötn volcano that was spewing gas and ash from south-east Iceland.
    Once landed, Captain Sievers, a representative of the German Airline Pilots' Association, used data from the MetOp satellite via the Support to Aviation Control Service - SACS - to confirm the sulphur dioxide.
    It proved particularly useful when planning his route from the Far East to Europe on 15 June. A day earlier, the Nabro volcano had erupted in Eritrea, spewing ash across his intended route over East Africa and the Middle East.

On 14 June 2011, the IASI instrument on MetOp-A satellite detected sulphur dioxide over East Africa and the Middle East. The sulphur dioxide plume came from the Nabro volcano in Eritrea. Credits: ULB

Read the complete news on ESA's website.

August, 2012

  • IASI's lastest news before its wake-up in orbit
    From July 31 to August 8, in Baikonur, a part of the IASI team proceeded to a functional test of the instrument, last opportunity to acquire a good health status. And... everything is ok!
    The final configuration set-up for the launch will take place at the beginning of September while CNES team that will perform the in-flight commissioning will be in Darmstadt, at the control center for METOP EUMETSAT, to realise a final rehearsal.
    Next rendez-vous after METOP-B launch on September 17: Switch-on around September 21, the first science data (spectra, interferograms and images) should be received by the end of October by the Technical Expertise Center team at CNES, Toulouse.

 ASTRIUM - 2012 MetOp Launch campaign in Baikonur
CNES and TAS IASI teams during the August 2012 campaign in Baikonur. Behind, METOP-B satellite, with IASI instrument (in the lowest left part).
Credit: ASTRIUM - 2012 MetOp Launch campaign in Baikonur.

June 28th, 2012

  • New launch date confirmed for Metop-B
    The revised launch date for the Metop-B satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome has been set for 19 September 2012.
    The launch campaign will resume in early July. The Metop-B satellite is being stored in a controlled environment in the Starsem facilities in Baikonur and will be subject to a set of tests and preparatory activities until its fuelling which is currently planned for August.

April 27th, 2012

  • MetOp-B launch postponed
    Eumetsat and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been informed by the launch service provider, Starsem, that the launch of the MetOp-B satellite by a Soyuz rocket, scheduled for 23 May from Baikonur, had to be postponed.
    The launch has been postponed for some weeks, until appropriate measures are implemented. It is expected to take place in the second half of July.
    For more information, read the article on ESA website.

March 20th, 2012

  • Europe's next weather satellite gears up for launch
    Following the safe arrival of the MetOp-B weather satellite in Kazakhstan, the sophisticated craft is now being carefully assembled and tested before launch on 23 May. MetOp-B will provide essential data for weather forecasting.
    For more information, read the article on ESA website.