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Aerosol particles in the atmosphere have an important influence on the radiative balance through directly reflecting sun light back into space (and sometimes absorbing part of it and converting it into heat) as well as through acting as cloud condensation nuclei to alter cloud properties and their radiative effects. Aerosol particles do also impact human health (as particulate matter near the surface), renewable energies (by reducing solar irradiance available for power plants) and traffic (desert dust storms, volcanic eruptions).

In response to the requirements of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the AEROCOM international modelling community the Aerosol_cci project has focused on:

  • improving and assessing algorithms for total aerosol optical depth
  • improvingand assessing algorithms for fine / coarse mode aerosol optical depth and for dust optical depth
  • improving and assessing algorithms for stratospheric extinction profiles
  • testing algorithms for further aerosol quantitites (effective layer eight, singel scattering albedo / absorbing aerosol optical depth)
  • work with the AEROCOM community as primary user and conduct dedivcated user case studies to the applicability of those datasets, their strengths and weaknesses


The ultimate objective of Aerosol_cci is to provide independently validated high quality algorithms for the processing of long-term records of global aerosol properties from European satellite instruments. The processing of the long-term records shall then be conducted by the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Latest news 

Final Aerosol_cci datasets available and validated [15/12/2017]

Final versions of ESA Aerosol_cci products are freely available at and
(unrestricted online access: account: cci; password: cci)

The products provided on this server are openly and freely available. No warranty is given by their providers. Users are obliged to acknowledge the ESA Climate Change Initiative and in particular its Aerosol_cci project together with the individual service provider.
We encourage interaction with the service providers on proper use of the products and would like to receive a copy of all reports and publications using the datasets. An offer of co-authorship should be considered, if the CCI datasets constitute a major component of a scientific publication.


About the project

Aerosol_cci (Phase 1) was run from 7/2010 until 2/2014 followed by Phase 2 (Aerosol_cci2) from 5/2014 - 12/2017; a small bridging option extended part of the activities until 10/2018. Currently proposals for an ITT of the CCI+ program extension for new research on old ECVs (including aerosols) are under evaluation to start a new 3-year contract on aerosols.

The project team

The Aerosol_cci2 baseline project team was composed of following partners.

Project coordination

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Dr. Thomas Popp is acting as joint science leader and project manager.
Miriam Kosmale is the deputy project manager.
Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)
Prof. Dr. Gerrit de Leeuw is acting as joint science leader.
EO expert team
Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)
Prof. Dr. Gerrit de Leeuw is leading algorithm development; his team is working on ATSR and SLSTR.
Oxford University (UO)
Dr. Don Grainger (Oxford) and his team are focusing on ATSR and SLSTR retrievals.
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL)
Dr. Gareth Thomas (RAL) and his team are supporting work on ATSR and SLSTR retrievals.
Swansea University (SU)
Dr. Peter North and his team are focusing on ATSR and SLSTR retrievals.
University of Bremen (UB)
Dr. Marco Vountas and his Team  are focusing on MERIS retrievals and coordinate cloud studies.
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Dr. Thomas Popp and his team are focusing on synergetic retrieval approaches and an ATSR ensemble.
Dr. Lars Klueser (DLR) and partners from BIRA, ULB and LMD  are  focusing on IASI dust retrieval.
Lille University - Laboratoire d'Optique Atmosphérique (LOA)
Prof. Dr. Oleg Dubovik and his team are focusing on polarization retrieval approaches.
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
Dr. Pepijn Veefkind and his team are focusing on UV index retrieval and ist use.
Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomie (BIRA)
Dr. Christine Bingen and her team are focusing on stratospheric retrievals.
Dr. Sophie Vandebussche  is focusing on IASI retrievals.
Dr. Yves Govaerts and his team is working on hourly SEVIRI retrievals.
The Freie Universität Berlin (FUB)
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Fischer and his team are focusing on retrieval of aerosol absorption over ocean
Universite Libre de Brussels
Prof. Lieben Clarisse is working on IASI retrievals.
Ecole Polytechnique (LMD)
Dr. Virginie Capelle  is working on IASI retrievals.
Climate modelling and validation science team
Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MetNo)
Dr. Michael Schulz is leading user involvement and liaison with the AEROCOM modelling community and working on trend studies.
Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI)
Dr. Stefan Kinne is responsible for validation with AERONET and application on radiative forcing.
Dr. Christoph Brühl is responsible for applications in the stratosphere.
Norwegian Institute for Air Reearch (NILU)
Dr. Kerstin Stebel is responsible for validation of stratospheric products and tropospheric validation with WMO-GAW in situ data based on the World Data Center for Aerosols hosted by NILU.
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ)
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lohmann and her Team  are working on application for aerosol-cloud interactions.
Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)
Drs. Enza di Tomaso Sara Basart are working on assimilation of IASI dust retrievals into their dust modelling system.
London Metropolitan university
Dr. Yong Xue is working on valdiation over China.
System engineering team
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Dr. Julian Meyer-Arnek is leading the system engineering tasks.
Dr. Julian Meyer-Arnek is responsible for the ECV prototypes and production of retrievals involving spectrometer instruments and merged products.
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL)
Dr. Richard Siddans and Andy Smith are responsible for the ECV prototypes and production of ATSR retrievals.
Lille University– ICARE data center (ICARE)
Dr. Jacques Descloiutres and his team are responsible for the ECV prototypes and production of POLDER and MERIS retrievals.

Resources, data and documents


Product overview
The latest global products including quality flags / uncertainties are provided via the CCI Open Data Portal:
Name / version Parameter coverage Main feature Provider
AATSR_ADV / 2.31 AOD, FMAOD 2002-2012 Quality over land similar to MODIS / MISR FMI
AATSR_ORAC / 4.01 AOD, FMAOD 2002-2012 Quality over land similar to MODIS / MISR UOxford/RAL
AATSR_SU / 4.3 AOD, FMAOD 2002-2012 Quality over land similar to MODIS / MISR USwansea
ATSR2_ADV / 2.31 AOD, FMAOD 1995-2003 historic period covered FMI
ATSR2_ORAC / 4.01 AOD, FMAOD 1995-2003 historic period covered UOxford/RAL
ATSR2_SU / 4.3 AOD, FMAOD 1995-2003 historic period covered USwansea

In addition an ensemble dataset (v2.6) from the 3 ATSR datasets (using weighting with uncertainties contained in the products where at least two of the three retrievals have valid results) is provided.

PARASOL/GRASP 0.08 AOD, FMAOD, SSA 2005-2013 consistent properties (selected regions) LOA

GOMOS_AERGOM / 3.00 extinction 2002-2012 Stratospheric extinction profile BIRA

IASI_ULB / 8 Dust AOD 2007-2015 complementary product ULB
IASI_LMD / 2,1 Dust AOD 2007-2015 complementary product LMD
IASI_IMARS / 5.2 Dust AOD 2007-2015 complementary product DLR
IASI_MAPIR / 3.51 Dust AOD 2007-2015 complementary product BIRA

Further data from the first phase are also available:
MERIS_ALAMO / 2.2 AOD 1-12 2008 Ocean only, wider swath width than AATSR ICARE

Available on request (as co-funded by Aerosol_cci) is
Multi-sensor_AAI/1.4.7 AAI 1978-2012 Qualitative absorption information KNMI


The validation of the new released datasets is summarized in the Product Validation and Inter-comparison Report (PVIR), Version 3.41, 21.12.2017. Example applications of the products are discussed in the Climate Assessment Report (CAR), Version 2.7, 08.01.2018.
A summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the products is provided in the Product User Guide (PUG), Version 2.3, 08.01.2018.

All key documents are listed below:

Contact us / support

Use the following emails to contact the Aerosol_cci3 team:

  • Scientific leader: thomas.popp[at]
  • ESA technical officer: simon.pinnock[at]