IASI greenhouse gases and aerosols data

Global 3D distributions of dust particles

Desert dust particles are uplifted from bare area by strong winds. They may travel up to thousands of kilometers, for example from North Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

Dust particles influence the climate

  • directly by modifying the energy balance (cooling or heating, depending on the conditions)
  • indirectly through an effect on wind patterns, clouds and rain.

These effects still bear large uncertainties and depend on the 3D distribution of the particles in the air.

At BIRA-IASB we use satellite data to obtain, for the first time, global 3D distributions of dust particles.

We use the data gathered by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) onboard the EUMETSAT Metop satellite series since end 2006. IASI provides a high-resolution spectrum of the Earth-emitted (surface and atmosphere) radiations and reflected solar radiations from 3.62µm to 15.5µm.

To obtain dust 3D distributions we use the Thermal Infrared (TIR) part of that spectrum, with only Earth-emitted radiations. We even only use a part of the TIR where the atmospheric gases have a very low impact: around 9µm and 11µm. There, only clouds and certain types of particles (dust and ash) have a significant impact on the outgoing radiation.


Aerosols retrieval algorithm (MAPIR)

Our dust aerosols retrieval algorithm is called Mineral Aerosol Profiling from Infrared Radiation (MAPIR). It provides the vertical profile of the dust aerosols concentration for each cloud-free IASI spectrum. The product also contains the integrated Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) at 10µm and the value converted at 550nm.

The last version currently available is MAPIR v4.1. A full reprocessing was undertaken with a new algorithm version 5.1 and the data will be soon available here.


   MAPIR version 4.1  MAPIR version 5.1
 Time coverage IASI/Metop-A  Full (September 2007 - June 2021)  Full (September 2007 - June 2021)
 Time coverage IASI/Metop-C  September 2019 - December 2022  September 2019 - now (with some delays)
 Geographical coverage  Almost global (except polar areas) from February 2011 onwards (before: 0-40°N, 80°W to 120°E)  Global
 Cloud filtering
 Before processing, using clouds flags  After processing, part of the quality flag


We are also working with EUMETSAT and the Atmospheric Composition Satellite Application Facility (AC-SAF) on a Near Real Time delivery, but it will take time.


Dust aerosols data

Contact: Sophie Vandenbussche
E-mail: sophie (at) vandenbussche (at) aeronomie (dot) be

DOWNLOAD: MAPIR version 4.1 IASI DUST aerosols PROFILE data (LEVEL 2, at IASI pixel resolution)


For use of the data, please cite both the algorithm paper and the data set:


Validation and evaluation of the mineral dust product



Algorithm and validation

  • Callewaert, S., Vandenbussche, S., Kumps, N., Kylling, A., Shang, X., Komppula, M., Goloub, P., and De Mazière, M.: The Mineral Aerosol Profiling from Infrared Radiances (MAPIR) algorithm: version 4.1 description and evaluation, Atmos. Meas. Tech.,https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-12-3673-2019, 2019.

  • Kylling, A., Vandenbussche, S., Capelle, V., Cuesta, J., Klüser, L., Lelli, L., Popp, T., Stebel, K., and Veefkind, P.: Comparison of dust-layer heights from active and passive satellite sensors, Atmos. Meas., 11, 2911-2936, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-2911-2018, 2018.

  • Popp, T.; De Leeuw, G.; Bingen, C.; Brühl, C.; Capelle, V.; Chedin, A.; Clarisse, L.; Dubovik, O.; Grainger, R.; Griesfeller, J.; Heckel, A.; Kinne, S.; Klüser, L.; Kosmale, M.; Kolmonen, P.; Lelli, L.; Litvinov, P.; Mei, L.; North, P.; Pinnock, S.; Povey, A.; Robert, C.; Schulz, M.; Sogacheva, L.; Stebel, K.; Stein Zweers, D.; Thomas, G.; Tilstra, L.G.; Vandenbussche, S.; Veefkind, P.; Vountas, M.; Xue, Y.: Development, Production and Evaluation of Aerosol Climate Data Records from European Satellite Observations (Aerosol_cci). Remote Sens., 8, 421, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/8/5/421, 2016.

  • Vandenbussche, S., Kochenova, S., Vandaele, A. C., Kumps, N., and De Mazière, M.: Retrieval of desert dust aerosol vertical profiles from IASI measurements in the TIR atmospheric window, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 2577-2591, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-6-2577-2013, 2013.

Data exploitation

  • Vandenbussche, S. and De Mazière, M.: African mineral dust sources: a combined analysis based on 3D dust aerosols distributions, winds and surface parameters, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-809, 2017.


Funding acknowledgements

For the algorithm developments

  • Belgian Science Policy (Belspo) Supplementary Researcher's Program
  • European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI) phase 2 aerosols project
  • Belgian Science Policy (Belspo) / European Space Agency (ESA) PRODEX program under the IASI.flow project phases 2 and 3, and HIRS project
  • European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 (H2020) European Natural Airborne Disaster Information and Coordination System for Aviation (EUNADICS-AV)

For the data processing

  • European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Copernicus Climate Change Services (C3S) 312a Lot5 Aerosols
  • European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Copernicus Climate Change Services (C3S) 312b Lot2 Atmospheric Composition
  • European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Copernicus Climate Change Services 2 (C3S2) 312a Lot2 Atmospheric Composition

For the data exploitation

  • European Space Agency (ESA) Living Planet Fellowship (LPF) project called "A new method for assessing mineral dust sources using vertical profile information retrieved from IASI radiances" (MIDUSO)