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Software for Satellite Monitoring


Development of Remote Sensing Methods and Hardware to Test and Improve Optical Space Data on the Atmosphere and Earth Surface in Eastern Europe

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-APC/Air Pollution and Control/Environment
  • PHY-OTH/Other/Physics
  • SAT-EXP/Extraterrestrial Exploration/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
B.I. Stepanov Institute of Physics, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • State Company "Central Academic Designers' Office", Belarus, Minsk\nBelarussian State University / Institute of Applied Physical Problems, Belarus, Minsk\nNational Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Institute of Molecular and Atomic Physics, Belarus, Minsk\nBelarussian State University / National Ozone Monitoring Research and Educational Center, Belarus, Minsk


  • National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) / Office of Research and Applications, USA, MD, Silver Spring\nUniversité des Sciences et Technologies de Lille / Laboratoire d'Optique Atmospherique, France, Lille\nISAO CNR, Italy, Bologna\nMeteorologisches Institut, Germany, Munich\nNASA / Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, MD, Greenbelt

Project summary

The Project objective is the development of an equipment complex and methods for remote monitoring of the atmosphere and land parameters in the Eastern Europe earmarked for validation and improvement of optical satellite retrieval methods.
An engineering foundation for performing under-satellite experiments will be produced by combining executor-available systems for remote environmental monitoring with upgrading of the equipment to meet the requirements of satellite retrieval validation. The following three equipment complexes will be available for field measurements:
- Ground- and helicopter-based spectral polarimeters to measure reflection characteristics of land;
- Spectral radiometers to measure spectral atmospheric extinction over the UV, visible and near IR ranges and to record radiative fluxes and total ozone content;
- Multi-frequency lidars to measure altitude profiles of aerosol optical characteristics and ozone concentration.
Within the frame of the methodological part, there will be developed algorithms and computer codes simulating radiative transfer through the atmosphere – underlying surface system with regarding polarization and non-Lambertian reflection, algorithms for atmospheric correction while processing data of optical satellite instruments, as well as methods to perform validation experiments.
Field investigations will be carried out in two modes, namely within monitoring and under-satellite measurement programs.
The monitoring program will routinely gather reflection characteristics of selected test sites and atmospheric spectral-polarization and lidar data. An additional information on the altitude profiles of meteorological parameters will be provided by meteorological services. The investigations will be aimed at the creation of a regional optical model of the atmosphere and underlying surface over the UV, visible and near IR spectral ranges. The optical model and computational algorithms will be tested by comparison with field observations of radiative fluxes.
The under-satellite experiments will be performed in cooperation with scientific teams implementing and developing satellite observation programs. The results of the under-satellite experiments, methods and codes designed within the scope of the Project, constructed regional optical model of the atmosphere – underlying surface system will be utilized for the validation and data processing of satellite optical instruments.
As a result of the Project execution, there will be created a technology to make an under-satellite experiment in the Eastern Europe region for validating and upgrading the satellite retrieval techniques. Systematic field experiments aimed at the validation of satellite retrieval techniques will be started up.

State of the art in the field and the impact of the proposed project on the progress in this field

Satellite monitoring of the atmosphere, land and water bodies is one of the most important parts of the global system for environmental monitoring. A key issue of satellite monitoring of atmosphere and land is now the evaluation of the reliability of the retrieved information on the environment, validation and upgrade of retrieval algorithms on the base of under satellite field measurements at different regions. National space agencies (ESA, NASA, NASDA, RSA) spend great efforts and bear high expenses to test satellite retrieval algorithms. There is no a site for required under-satellite measurements in the Eastern Europe.
Within the scope of the proposed Project, we are planning to provide engineering, methodological and information facilities for arranging under-satellite monitoring of atmospheric and land in the Eastern Europe, to refine comprehensively the system for data acquiring and processing, to develop an Internet database for easy access to obtained data. There will be provided conditions to validate satellite experiments in the Eastern Europe region.

Competence of the project team

Scientific groups from five institutions, namely, Institute of Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (IP), Scientific Research Institute of Applied Physics Problems named after A.N.Sevchenko of the Belarus State University (IAPP), National Ozone Monitoring Research and Educational Center, Belarus State University (NOMREC), Institute of Molecular and Atomic Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (IMAP), State Company “Central Academic Designers’ Office”, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (CADO), are the Project Executors.

Project Manager, Corresponding Member of Belarus National Academy of Sciences, Professor, Head of the Laboratory of IP, Arkadi P. Ivanov is widely known by his works in the field of optics of light-scattering media. He is the author of more than 400 scientific papers and 7 monographs devoted to the radiative transfer theory, optics of scattering media, vision and detection problems, tomography, water and atmospheric sounding, methods to determine optical parameters and structure of natural media.
The scientific team includes 4 Professors and 14 Ph.D., who are well-known experts in the field of designing methods and observational systems, optical sensing, atmospheric optics. The staff comprises experts in designing optical systems. The scientific team has a great multi-year experience in developing and exploiting the equipment for environmental remote monitoring, in measuring atmospheric and land parameters including observations during under-satellite experiments. The Executors, under contracts with NASDA and RSA, have designed algorithms to process satellite optical information and correct atmospheric effects on satellite data. The Executors support close scientific contacts with institutions involved in satellite remote sensing in the USA, EC, and Japan.
The Project Executors hold the equipment complex comprising multi-wavelength lidars, spectral radiometers, and spectral polarimeters, which establish the technical foundation for the Project implementation.

Scope of the works, structure, technical approach and methodology of the project

The scientific program is stated as separate tasks being combined to provide the achievement of the Project goals. Tasks 1 to 3 are directed to the creating the main components of the equipment complex. These components are spectral polarimeters to measure reflection characteristics of the land, spectral radiometers to study radiative fluxes at the UV and visible ranges, to measure atmospheric spectral extinction and total ozone content, multi-frequency lidars to investigate altitude profiles of atmospheric optical characteristics and ozone concentration. Each set of the devices is assigned with its own program of the equipment upgrading to satisfy the requirements of under-satellite experiments.
Tasks 4 and 5 are directed to developing the methodology and to carrying out field measurements of the atmosphere and land characteristics according to the monitoring regime (task 4) and under-satellite experiment regime (task 5). The methodology of comprehensive field measurements will be developed on the base of the optimal experimental scheduling theory and will envisage the design of algorithms and software for joint data processing of passive and active sounding data.
Task 6 stipulates the construction of a regional atmospheric and underlying surface model at the UV, visible and near IR ranges on the base of the field measurements of land reflection characteristics, altitude profiles of aerosol optical parameters and ozone concentration.
Task 7 implies the development of fast radiative transfer codes to simulate the radiance and polarization of light in atmosphere regarding to non-Lambertian reflection from the underlying surface and techniques for the satellite retrieval validation experiment. The methods, codes, and developed regional optical model of the atmosphere and underlying surfaces, as well as results of under-satellite experiments will be used to validate various retrieval techniques for different satellite optical instruments.
Task 8 is aimed to provide the immediate and easy access to the obtained information for users over the world. A merged Internet database on measured optical parameters of the atmosphere and of testing sites, which can be used for validation of the satellite retrieval for various satellite instruments, will be developed. The current information on the Working Program execution and methodological achievements will be presented there as well.

Expected results and their application

The main scientific results of the Project implementation will be the following:
- An equipment complex for under-satellite monitoring comprising mobile and stationary lidar stations, ground-based and airborne Sun spectral radiometers and spectral polarimeters. The equipment complex will provide measuring optical parameters of the underlying surface and aerosols within the UV, visible and near-IR spectral ranges, as well as parameters of the ozone layer.

- A regional optical atmospheric model and an Internet database on measured optical parameters of the atmosphere and lands at test sites for validation and correction optical satellite retrieval for various optical satellite instruments.

- Algorithms and fast codes to compute the spectral-polarization distribution of the Stokes vector at any point of the atmosphere – land system over spectral range 0.25 to 3 mkm for realistic models of the stratified aerosol-gaseous atmosphere with non-Lambertian underlying surfaces. Software to simulate input signals for various optical satellite instruments with regard to the features of their spectral channels. An atmospheric correction procedure for retrieval of spectral signatures of underlying surfaces. The validation and optimization of the methods to retrieve aerosol parameters and to detect atmospheric pollution, using spectral-polarization measurements of the POLDER instrument.

The new methods and algorithms will provide possibility to estimate and improve the retrieval technique for currently operating and planned-to-be-launched optical satellite instruments (POLDER, GOME, MERIS, MKS-E, GLI, AVHRR). Scientific teams over the world engaged in the problem on satellite remote sensing will have easy access to the experimental database and validation methods.

Applied importance of Project results

The created set of the equipment and procedures will be a base for carrying out the under-satellite experiments in the Eastern Europe. The Project envisages the validation of a few retrieval methods for operating and planned-to-be-launched optical satellite instruments (POLDER, GOME, MERIS, MKS-E, GLI, and AVHRR). The Executors assume that there is a long-term demand for carrying out the similar works in cooperation with various scientific teams. There will be undertaken arrangements directed to joining International programs on the development of remote monitoring networks and to including the designed complex into the global environmental monitoring system.

International cooperation within the frame of the Project and role of the collaborators

The activities according to the Project will be conducted in cooperation with foreign scientific centers and experts. Scientists, who are the leading experts in the satellite remote sensing and environmental monitoring, showed the interest to the Project program and have anticipatory agreed to cooperate as collaborators within the scope of the assumed Project.
The program on common researches with Dr. M.Herman and J.L.Deuze (Laboratoire d'Optique Atmospherique, Universite des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, France) will be aimed to the developing fast radiative transfer code with polarization and to the validation and improvement of POLDER retrieval algorithms
During his cooperation according to the Project, Dr. L. Stowe (NOAA/NESDIS Office of Research and Applications, USA) intends to utilize field measurements of aerosol characteristics and reflectance of the Earth’s surface, performed according to the Project, for validating procedures to retrieve aerosol parameters over land being now under development by the NOAA.
Scientific cooperation with Prof. R.Guzzi (Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e dell’Oceano, Italy) the principal investigator of aerosol and cloud retrieval in the frame of GOME aboard ERS-2, the coordinator of a group of validation of GOME data, also envisages to use Project results to validate methods for retrieving aerosol parameters.
The methods to retrieve atmospheric aerosol parameters, using joint measurements of atmospheric spectral transparency by radiometers, such as CIMEL of the AERONET network, and data of multi-frequency lidar sounding, will be developed in cooperation with Dr. B. Holben (NASA/GSPC, USA) and Dr. D. Tanre (LOA, Lille, France).
Developing ways and techniques to apply lidars for under-satellite experiments will be elaborated in cooperation with the Executor of the Program on the creation of the European lidar network, Dr.Matthias Wiegner (University of Munich, Meteorological Institute. Germany).

Implementation of the goals and objectives of ISTC

The participation in the Project will provide an opportunity for a large group of Belarus scientists and designers to apply scientific ideas, engineering developments, and experience, accumulated during many-year works on military problems, for elaborating peaceful technologies directed to the creation of a global environmental monitoring system and effective use of natural resources. The engineering and methodological complex, which will be created within the scope of the Project, will open a long-term perspective of scientific activities towards peaceful goals for the big team of experts.
The works according to the Project and subsequent activities on carrying out comprehensive under-satellite experiments assume close international cooperation to promote the integration of Belarus leading scientists into the international scientific community.
The created regional system for under-satellite monitoring will be utilized to implement International space programs on the monitoring of parameters of the atmosphere and underlying surface. The data obtained under project execution will allow space agencies in the Europe, Japan, USA, and Russia to carry out the validation of their satellite optical instruments. The investigations planned by the Project program correspond to the goals and objectives of the International scientific programs, such as 5th Framework Program, AERONET, ADEOS-II.


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