ATSR Products and Tools

ATSR Algorithms

A description of the algorithms can be found in the AATSR Product Handbook.

ATSR Formats

The reformatting of the ATSR-1 and ATSR-2 products into the Envisat format used for AATSR was completed in 2009. The result is a consistent format for the entire ATSR series, as defined on this ESA website and the AATSR Product Handbook.

Information on the small differences between the ATSR-1, ATSR-2 and AATSR formats can be obtained from the document, Envisat ATS Products for ATSR.

In the SLSTR era, which is due to commence in 2014, it is intended to reformat the entire ATSR dataset to a netCDF format. Information on the new formats will be supplied in 2013.

ATSR Validation

Full information can be found in the AATSR Validation Report, which provides a summary of data quality from the ATSR series. Validation activities include the use of in situ radiometers, such as ISAR, SISTeR and arrays of buoys such as Argo.

RAL provides information on the performance of the AATSR instrument.

ATSR Quality Working Group (QWG)

The ATSR QWG is charged with improving the quality of the ATSR data products and for approving the production of new products, in response to AATSR validation results, processing improvements and algorithm improvements resulting from scientific research. It is the forum in which ESA and BEIS co-ordinate the development of the mirror archives that contain the official products approved by the QWG.

The QWG is sponsored by BEIS and ESA, who share the responsibilities for leading the quality effort. BEIS fund the ATSR Validation Scientist, who co-ordinates the in situ measurements that validate the quality of the ATSR data, whist ESA provides the QWG secretariat and the team who verify the format and integrity of new or modified products that are destined for the mirror archives.

The QWG maintains reports on the current validation issues and data quality issues that affect the ATSR series. ESA also produced Cyclic Reports on the overall performance of the AATSR at the end of every 35-day orbital cycle of the Envisat satellite (30-day orbital cycle since the Envisat mission extension orbit manouevres in October/November 2010).

ESA and Eumetsat have set up a QWG for SLSTR.

ATSR Investigations

The Final Report following the investigations of the AATSR 12micron Anomaly Review Board (ARB) can be found here and an addendum to this report following further investigation in 2015 can be found here.

Several investigations were undertaken by RAL, these are covered in the technical notes shown below:

ATSR Tools

The basic software tool for opening Envisat data products, including AATSR products, is ESA's Enviview and the Sentinel-3 Toolbox.

For carrying out image manipulation, ESA have produced a 'Toolbox' called BEAM (Basic ERS/Envisat AATSR and MERIS). This is freely available and features open-source code.

More software tools and information regarding the reprocessing of ATSR data can be found on ESA's website here.

ATSR Resources for Education

Using Earth Observation satellite data provides experience in examining observations of our own physical environment, a fundamental activity which is at the beginning and the end of scientific investigation.

Also, particularly in the case of EO data, the observations allow the investigator to examine natural processes, sometimes very familiar ones, over extensive spatial scales and over time-periods that are hard if not impossible to capture through more conventional methods of observation with which we may be familiar.

Perhaps the most important messges for students is that, not only can we see natural phenomena from a new vantage point and with great clarity, but we can and should analyse the information quantitatively in order to make sensible comparisons between one occurrence and another, in fact in order to draw meaningful scientific conclusions from observations.

The Applications

A user-friendly PC-based package, particularly suited for students who may need an introduction to image processing techniques, is Bilko, developed for UNESCO by the University of Southampton. Bilko enables students to examine data over small spatial scales using satellite data at its highest spatial resolution. Bilko was developed by Ian Robinson and his colleagues at the University of Southampton with funding from UNESCO. Further information, including instructions for downloading, sample data and lessons, you must visit the official bilko website.

For the more advanced students, who have become familiar with bilko, there is a professional AATSR-MERIS toolbox known as BEAM, which has been developed for ESA by Brockmann Consult. It should be emphasized that this is not primarily designed for educational purposes. Further details can be found at the official BEAM website.