Data Sources

This page provides an overview of the various data sources for the data products that are supported by BEAT. Information is provided on where to get data products and where to find additional information such as product handbooks, product disclaimers, official products format specification (PFS) documents, etc.

If you find any of the information on this page to be wrong or incomplete, please let us know.



ENVISAT is an ESA polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite which provides measurements of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice. The ENVISAT was launched in March 2002.

The atmospheric instruments on board ENVISAT are GOMOS, MIPAS, and SCIAMACHY.

GOMOS, MIPAS, and SCIAMACHY Level 1 and 2 products
AccessIn order to retrieve ENVISAT data from ESA you will first have to apply for access. The type of application (e.g. registration, proposal, or Annoucments of Opportunity (AO)) depends on the type of data that is requested and the Category of the data. More information about how to apply can be found on the How to access EO data page. The auxiliary data files that are used to proces ENVISAT data can be retrieved from the Auxiliary Data Files section on the ESA Earth Online website.
AvailabilityThe status for each product can be found via the Browse Data Products section for GOMOS, MIPAS, and SCIAMACHY.
ContactQuestions regarding the ENVISAT data products should be addressed to the ESA Earth Observation Helpdesk. The EO Helpdesk can be reached via a webform or via e-mail.
DisclaimerProduct disclaimers, if available, can be found using the the Browse Data Products section.
FormatProduct specification documents can be found using the the Browse Data Products section.
SCIAMACHY Level 1c product

Usually a Level 1b product contains fully calibrated radiances (or transmission spectra). For the SCIAMACHY Level 1b product this is not the case: the Level 1b product still contains raw detector readouts. In order to turn these readouts into radiances the product has to be processed by a SCIAMACHY Level 1b-1c processor. This processor turns a SCIAMACHY Level 1b product, using the calibration data that is also available in the Level 1b product, into a Level 1c product. The official SCIAMACHY Level 1b-1c processor is freely availabe and allows you to create the Level 1c products yourself.

AccessThe SCIAMACHY Level 1c processor can be downloaded from the SciaL1C Command-line Tool website.
FormatThe Product Format Specification for the SCIAMACHY Level 1C file is included in the Software User Manual (ENV-SUM-DLR-SCIA-0071).


The European Remote Sensing satellite, ERS-1, launched in 1991 and was ESA's first Earth Observation satellite. ERS-2, which overlapped with ERS-1, was launched in 1995 and contained an additional sensor for atmospheric ozone research, GOME.

More information about GOME can also be found on the DLR website for GOME.

GOME Level 1 and Level 2 products
AccessInformation about accessing GOME Level 1 and Level 2 products can be found on the How to access EO data page.
AvailabilityThe status of the GOME products can be found using the Browse Data Products section.
FormatProduct specification documents can be found using the the Browse Data Products section.
SamplesSample products for GOME Level 1 and Level 2 can be downloaded from the download section of the BEAT website.
GOME Extracted Level 1 and Level 2 products

The Level 1 products (calibrated spectra) are stored in a compressed binary form. The Level 1 extractor software (gdp01_ex) has to be applied in order to obtain the final Level 1 data (which is stored in ASCII format). The Level 1 extractor will apply four different calibration steps: signal processing, wavelength calibration, radiance calibation, and irradiance calibration.

There is also a Level 2 extractor (gdp12_ex), but this tool merely a converts the binary Level 2 format into an easier readable ASCII format, with the option to select only a subset of the data.

Both the Level 1 and Level 2 extractor software can be found on the GOME product CD-ROM. The User Manual for version 3 of the software is available from DLR.

FormatA description of the GOME Level 1 and 2 extracted file format can be found in the Product Specification Document of the GOME Data Processor (which is also available from DLR).


The EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) is Europe's first polar orbiting operational meteorological satellite system, and it is the European contribution to the Initial Joint Polar-Orbiting Operational Satellite System (IJPS). In this joint European-US polar satellite system, EUMETSAT will have the operational responsibility for the "morning orbit" with the MetOp satellites. The first MetOp satellite will be launched on October 7th 2006.

More information about MetOp can also be found on the ESA MetOp website.

The atmospheric instruments on board MetOp are GOME-2 and IASI.

AccessMetOp data is distributed via EUMETCast or can be ordered from the EUMETSAT Data Centre. An overview of L2 products and where they can be downloaded is available on the O3M SAF site.
ContactQuestions regarding the EPS data products can be send via e-mail to the Helpdesk.
FormatProduct Format Specification documents for GOME-2 and IASI are available from the Atmospheric Products webpage. For GOME-2 Level 2 products the documentation can be found on the O3M SAF site.


Aura is a NASA EOS chemistry mission. The satellite carries four state-of-the-art instruments. The atmospheric instruments are OMI, MLS, TES, and HIRDLS.

AccessThere are several access methods for Aura data. On-line data access is provided for OMI, MLS, TES and HIRDLS products. The AVDC also provides access to some Aura data products.
AvailabilityA list of available data products can be found on the AVDC data overview webpage.
DocumentationInformation for each of the individual product types can be found on their respective webpages, accessible via the OMI, MLS, TES, and HIRDLS product overview pages.
FormatAll data is stored in HDF-EOS2(/HDF4) format for Level 1b data and HDF-EOS5(/HDF5) format for Level 2 data. Level 2 products will conform to the HDF-EOS Aura File Format Guidelines.
ValidityGuidelines and Data Quality documents can be found on the Aura Documentation webpage.


ACE, the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment, also known as SCISAT-1, is a Canadian satellite that makes measurements of the Earth's atmosphere. The two main instruments on the satellite are the ACE-FTS and MAESTRO.

AccessVersion 1.0 of the ACE-FTS Level 2 data set is available as public data. Newer versions of the data and MEASTRO data are only available to ACE Science Team members and other authorized users
ContactQuestions regarding the ACE mission can be send to
FormatFormat specifications are available on the ACE data webpage and the ACE Validation Program webpage.
ValidityInformation about the current validity of the retrieved data can be found on the ACE Validation Program webpage.


ODIN is a swedish satellite carrying the Canadian optical spectrograph and infrared imager OSIRIS and the Sub-Millimeter Receiver SMR.

AccessOSIRIS products can be retrieved via ESA, as it is considered a Third Party mission. This requires a simple registration process. SMR data can be downloaded from the SMR Level-2 download page. An alternative source of SMR data is Ether.
DocumentationBackground information about the OSIRIS Daily Level 2 Data Products can be found in the User Guide. SMR Level 2 documentation can be found on the Level 2 data format page.
FormatOSIRIS Daily Level 2 products are stored in HDF5-EOS format. A definition of the content can be found in the User Guide. SMR products are stored in HDF-EOS2 format. Information on the SMR Level-2 format can be found on the Level 2 data format page.


The NILU NADIR data centre hosts the ENVISAT CAL/VAL database. This database contains a large number of in-situ, remote-sensing and satellite instrument observations that were (and still are) used to validate the GOME (ERS-2) and MIPAS, GOMOS, and SCIAMACHY (ENVISAT) instruments.

AccessAccess to the ENVISAT CAL/VAL data base is restricted to participants of the ENVISAT CAL/VAL projects. The data base can accessed via the Secure Login webpage.
FormatAll data is stored in HDF4 format.
SamplesSome samples of Brewer measurement data are included with the BEAT Scientific Tutorial.


The Tropospheric Emission Monitoring Internet Service (TEMIS) aims to compute and deliver global concentrations of tropospheric trace gases, and aerosol and UV products derived from observations of nadir-viewing satellite instruments such as GOME, SCIAMACHY and (A)ATSR. TEMIS is part of the Data User Programme (DUP) of the European Space Agency (ESA).

AccessData can be directly downloaded from the TEMIS website.
FormatData is available as gif images and data files. Data files for orbit data use the original file format of the mission or data processor. The global field data is specifically supported by BEAT-II and these files are stored using the HDF4 format. A description of the format can be found in the Service Report Protocol monitoring document.

Spectral Databases

In this section we discuss a number of useful reference spectra databases from different sources.

MIPAS Reference Spectra

MIPAS microwindow cross-section reference spectra are contained in ENVISAT files of type 'MIP_CS2_AX'. The auxiliary data file containing MIPAS cross-section spectra for the microwindows can be found on the MIPAS Auxiliary Data Files page.

MIPAS reference spectra can be ingested using the BEAT-I/CODA interface.

GOMOS Reference Spectra

GOMOS reference spectra can be found in files of type 'GOM_CRS_AX'. These are publicly distributed by ESA via the GOMOS Auxiliary Data Files page. The most recent version of this file is GOM_CRS_AXVIEC20020729_082931_20020301_000000_20100101_000000 (12 MB).

The GOMOS reference spectra auxiliary file contains two broad types of spectra: cross-section spectra for O3, NO2, NO3, and OClO; and transmission spectra for O2 and H2O.

GOMOS reference spectra can be ingested using the BEAT-I/CODA and BEAT-II interfaces.

GOME and SCIAMACHY Reference Spectra

BEAT includes support for GOME, SCIAMACHY, and other reference spectra as distributed by the Molecular Spectroscopy Group of the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen (MSG/IUP Bremen).

MSG/IUP Bremen distributes 76 reference spectra on its website. These are ASCII-formatted in a number of slightly different formats. For convenience, and with kind permission of MSG/IUP, a reformatted (binary) version of these reference spectra is distributed with BEAT. All data for the 76 reference spectra is contained in one big file, that is available for download: (25 MB).

The BEAT team wants to extend gratitude to the Molecular Spectroscopy and Chemical Kinetics Group of the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen for their permission to reformat and redistribute this data.

Relevant papers concerning these reference spectra can be found on the Molecular Spectroscopy group home-page under 'Publications'. You are kindly requested to provide citations to the applicable articles when using this data for research. In the 'description' field of each of the spectra, you will find reference to the relevant article for that spectrum.

The Bremen reference spectra can be ingested using the BEAT-I/CODA and BEAT-II interfaces.

Water Vapour Reference Spectra

BEAT supports ingestion of water vapour reference spectra as distributed by the RAL Molecular Spectroscopy Facility of the Natural Environment Research Council (RAL).

The relevant water vapour spectra (ASCII format) can be obtained from the BADC ESA-WV page. In particular, the files ESA-WVB.par and ESA-WVR.par are supported.

These spectra are formatted in HITRAN format. In particular, BEAT supports partial ingestion of both the 'old' (100 characters per line) and 'new' (160 characters per line) formats.

HITRAN data can be ingested using the BEAT-II interface.