Announcement of Opportunity for Aeolus Cal/Val
An Announcement of Opportunity call is open for the Aeolus mission. Scientists, new groups and individuals are invited to participate in Aeolus Cal/Val throughout the mission lifetime.
Aeolus data now publicly available
Last week marked an exciting milestone for Aeolus. On 12 May, its wind data became publicly available.
Around the world in eight balloons with Strateole-2
Strateole-2 is a French-US project supported by ESA that uses CNES superpressure balloons drifting around the globe to study the climate processes in the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) and the lower stratosphere, helping Aeolus validation activities along the way.
Mirror bias correction brings higher quality to Aeolus data
The release of Aeolus data to the public was made possible by the product optimisation work performed by the Aeolus DISC.

blue arrow Mission Overview

Aeolus in orbit

ESA's Earth Explorer, Aeolus, was launched into space on 22 August 2018. This new satellite type provides novel global observations of wind profiles from the surface up to 30 km altitude.

Although there are several ways of measuring wind from a satellite, Aeolus utilises the active Doppler Wind Lidars (DWL) method. This is currently the only technology that can provide direct wind profile observations in clear air, inside thin clouds and aerosol layers and on top of thick clouds globally. In addition, a DWL provides information on cloud top heights and the vertical distribution of thin clouds and aerosol.

An improved knowledge of Earth's wind fields will lead to progress in atmospheric dynamics research and weather forecasting. Forecast impact experiments by a number of leading meteorological institutes across the world have shown that Aeolus observations lead to an improvement of operational weather forecasting. The experiments show that the impact is largest in the tropics, southern hemisphere, polar areas and in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, where there are currently very few direct wind observations in the Global Observing System of the World Meteorological organization (WMO).

The provision of global wind profiles will also benefit climate research. Climate models are similar to weather models, but predict the evolution of the coupled Earth System (atmosphere, land, ocean and ice) on the scale of years rather than days. As for weather forecast models, the key atmospheric variables in climate models are wind, temperature, pressure and humidity. The Aeolus winds will be used to evaluate climate models, and for the improvement of modelling of the global atmospheric transport and cycling of energy, water, aerosols and chemicals.

blue arrow Mission Objectives

Aeolus objectives

The Aeolus mission objectives is to provide accurate global measurements of winds from the surface up to 30 km.
The Aeolus mission will contribute to:

  • Improve weather forecasts for society
  • Understand atmospheric dynamics
  • Provide information on aerosols and clouds
  • Fill the current major gap in the atmospheric observing system
  • Understand climate change
  • Help to track air pollution
  • Track desert dust, smoke and volcanic ash
  • Wind-energy management
  • Pave the way for future wind lidar missions

blue arrow Instrument

The Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument (ALADIN) is a Direct Detection Doppler Lidar operating in the ultra-violet spectral region (355 nm). The instrument generates and sends a series of short UV light pulses through its telescope into the Earth's atmosphere. The UV light, which is invisible to the naked eye, is scattered by particles, ice crystals and cloud droplets (called Mie scattering) and air molecules (called Rayleigh scattering) along the path of the instrument's line-of-sight within its narrow field of view.
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blue arrow Data

blue arrow DATA DOWNLOAD

Download Aeolus data either from the Aeolus Online Dissemination Service ADDF or via FTP. To download data, an EO-SSO account is required.


The following Aeolus products are available to all users:

  • Level 1B: Preliminary HLOS (Horizontal Line of Sight) wind observations and useful signals for Rayleigh and Mie receivers. Standard atmospheric correction, receiver response and initial bias corrections applied.
  • Level 2B: Scientific wind product for users. Geo-located consolidated HLOS wind observation with actual atmospheric correction and further bias corrections applied.

Access to the following Aeolus products is limited to dedicated expert groups until their public release:

  • Level 2C: Aeolus assisted wind fields resulting from NWP (Numerical Weather Prediction) assimilation processing. Data co-located time and space with Aeolus wind observations.
  • Level 2A: Scientific aerosol/cloud profile product. Geo-located consolidated backscatter and extinction profiles, backscatter-to-extinction ratio per observation, scene classification. Furthermore, attenuated backscatter on measurement level.

Processor Releases

Major processor releases are scheduled twice per year. The current product baseline for near real-time (NRT) products is B10. The B10 data is coherent with B09 data, as the associated switch was performed solely due to a technical reason related to a reprocessing campaign.

blue arrow DATA TOOLS

A number of tools are available for visualising, processing and analysing Aeolus data.

Data visualisation tools

VirES for Aeolus

VirES for Aeolus is a highly interactive data manipulation and retrieval interface for ESA's Aeolus mission products. It includes tools for studying various atmospheric parameters, in space and time, measured by the Aeolus satellite.

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The ESA Common Data Access (CODA) and HARP tools have been developed for reading atmospheric data from the ESA Envisat satellite, and have been extended to read Aeolus data in the common Earth Explorer File Format.

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Satellite and orbit visualisation tools


ESOV - the Earth Observation Swath and Orbit Visualisation tool - provides the means to visualise the instrument swaths of all ESA Earth Observation Satellites and assist in understanding where and when satellite measurements are made and ground contact is possible.

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EVDC Orbit Prediction Tool

The EVDC Orbit Prediction Tool generates and visualises satellite's overpasses, including Aeolus. Temporal overpasses can be calculated for any time period - either past or future - for any location.

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SAMI (Satellite Mission Editor & Player) is a freely available software application for visualisation of high-resolution 3D and 2D scenarios of ESA Earth Observation satellites.

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Command line executables


The Earth Observation CFI Software is a collection of precompiled C libraries for timing, coordinate conversions, orbit propagation, satellite pointing calculations, and target visibility calculations.

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blue arrow DATA QUALITY

The ESA framework for Aeolus data quality assurance is the Aeolus DISC (Data, Innovation and Science Cluster), including processor evolution, quality monitoring and a central role in calibration, validation and NWP impact assessment. It consists of expert centres and teams located in Germany, UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands and is led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Aeolus Quality Control Reports on L1B/Instrument, L2A and L2B products are currently available to Aeolus Cal/Val teams and will become publicly available after public data release.

Data Unavailability Reports contain information on all periods of planned and unplanned unavailability of Aeolus ALADIN data.

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blue arrow Announcement of Opportunity

An announcement of opportunity is open for calibration and validation (cal/val) teams to apply for Aeolus data. The aim of the call is to invite new groups to participate in Aeolus cal/val activities, and as such the teams will have early access to Aeolus data products before their public release.

Apply for the announcement of opportunity