Sentinel-3 B launch in live from EUMETSAT

We attended the launch of the second satellite platform of the Sentinel-3 mission. An event in live was organised at EUMETSAT, and what a blast!

Check the pictures here.

As part of the Copernicus programme, Sentinel-3 is a very important mission for ocean colour, sea and land surface, fire, atmosphere and climate purposes. With the two platforms, Sentinel-3 A and B, an optimal global coverage will be now obtained. The next observations and related products are promising!

More information?

  • Check the diverse pictures of this fantastic launch via the Twitter accounts of EUMETSAT and ESA
  • Sentinel-3 satellite mission here
  • The current Sentinel-3 services provided by EUMETSAT here

And watch below the movie from EUMETSAT in live in the Sentinel-3 control centre “Sentinel-3: Operating satellites” with Hillary Wilson, EUMETSAT’s Sentinel-3 manager, and Kevin Marston, EUMETSAT’s System operation manager.

A new paper published on OMI aerosol layer height retrieval from the O2-O2 visible band and neural networks – Comparison with CALIOP aerosol spatial patterns

I am very glad to have a new paper recently published in the Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) journal. This paper relies on a research work achieved during the last months with my colleagues of the Geoscience and Remote Sensing (GRS) department of TU Delft and KNMI: Dr. J. Pepijn Veefkind, Dr. Tim Vlemmix, and Prof. Dr. Pieternel  F. Levelt.

This paper is based on the work of 2017, in which a neural network algorithm was developed for retrieving aerosol layer height (ALH) from the OMI O2-O2 visible measurements. This time, we directly compare our retrievals with CALIOP aerosol observations and evaluate the spatial patterns on several remarkable case studies including urban pollution, biomass burning events and a Saharan dust outbreak!

Gotten curious? See more information here.

I greatly thank my co-authors from the Netherlands for this very interesting work!

Research / Science Homepage – Already 1 year! Thanks!

More than 1 year ago, I decided to share a bit more my on-going scientific activities. At that time, I was mostly working on OMI, aerosol layer height and tropospheric NO2 retrievals with my great colleagues at the Geoscience and Remote Sensing department of TU Delft. Now, I am at EUMETSAT working on Sentinel-3.

In a world that is continuously evolving, and where it is very difficult to find adequate information about our environment and used observations, my only hope was to share some news about my  topics of interest (trace gases, aerosol, air quality, climate), get more reliable information and increase (if possible) my network. I must admit that I was initially a bit skeptical.

But the numbers that I have now somehow surprise me: 3091 visits last year from some 1147 visitors. Since January, already 1127 views from 550 visitors! This may look very little for some people. But for me, this is quite significant! I have no idea whether people really got interest in my work and/or website, or just found a bit by chance some of the webpages.

What is for sure not a coincidence: 96 people connected with me via Twitter, most of them / you that I don’t really know, and regularly exchanging scientific news with me. And about 56 posts posted alone or with some friends!

I don’t know who you are, and whether you found my HomePage by chance. But for all the scientific news and exciting exchanges that I have, thank you! In spite of my restricted time, I will keep updating this Homepage and my Twitter account on a more or less regular basis!

The Earth observation science journey, using satellites, continues!

Towards new horizons!



Recent findings from OMI Aerosol Layer Height Neural Network at EGU 2018 by GRS – TU Delft and KNMI

Our research works achieved with my colleagues from Geoscience & Remote Sensing (GRS) – TU Delft, and KNMI, before my leaving, will be presented via a poster at EGU 2018. In particular, recent findings and the last publication on the retrieval of aerosol layer height (ALH) from the OMI 477 nm O2-O2 band and using the developed neural network algorithm will be shown

Don’t miss the poster presentation by Prof. Dr. Pieternel Levelt on Monday 09.04 17:30 – 19:00 in Hall X5 at board number X5.170!

Recent results of OMI Aerosol Layer Height Retrieval over East China by Chimot et al. (2018) (just accepted for publication in AMT).

More information?

  • Abstract EGU2018 “Aerosol layer height from OMI and neural network – Evaluation and possibility of a 13-year time series?” here
  • Our recent papers published on this topic here
  • My former research activities performed with GRS-TU Delft and KNMI here
  • Aerosol WebPage here

2018: New activities on atmospheric composition retrieval from satellites – Moving from OMI with GRS-TU Delft & KNMI to Sentinel-3 with EUMETSAT

2017 was an intensive year for my research activity focused on validating the aerosol height retrieval using neural networks (NN), and improving the aerosol correction in tropospheric NO2 determination. Both from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite. What was new in 2017?:

  • our paper on the design of the OMI aerosol layer height (ALH) NN algorithm was published here
  • the next paper on its evaluation on specific cases was submitted and is currently under review
  • I am happy to have co-authored the work of Proestakis et al., on a new desert dust aerosol climatology dataset over Asia from 9-year CALIOP observations here
  • I had the opportunity to share the outcome of our activities at 5 conferences and seminars here
  • we attended the successful launch of TROPOMI on-board Sentinel-5 Precursor and the first impressive trace gas and aerosol images here
  • we are preparing a new and last paper on the improved aerosol correction when retrieving tropospheric NO2 from OMI.

I have enjoyed a great collaboration and success with the Geoscience & Remote Sensing (GRS) department, at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). But time has come to move forward, and 2018 (and the next years) will be devoted to another satellite mission, in a new country.

Still in science, with a keen eye  on atmospheric composition observations from satellites of course!

I am very glad to join the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), based in Darmstadt Germany, and to join the scientists and groups working on the development of the atmospheric products (aerosols, fires, H2O, etc…) from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 space-borne mission. If you are interested by this topic, stay tuned and keep following this blog and my twitter account. I will continue sharing exciting findings, news, maps, etc…

Of course, I will still keep a very interested eye on all the other satellite observations (in particular TROPOMI) and groups working on similar topics. I take the opportunity to emphasise how honoured and enthusiastic I am to have worked during 4 years with KNMI and GRS – TU Delft. In particular, I am very grateful to my Promotors Prof. Dr. Pieternel Levelt, Dr. Pepijn Veefkind and Dr. Tim Vlemmix. I do not forget all my colleagues and friends who closely or remotely shared this journey!

Last but not least, 2018 should witness the awarding of my PhD doctoral degree, related to my OMI, aerosol and NO2 research work, from TU Delft and KNMI. Gotten curious about the book to be published in the next months? Here just an illustration of the expected cover (thanks to my friend Remi Charton for his design talents!). Stay tuned!

Expected cover of my (draft) PhD book GRS-TU Delft / KNMI to be published in 2018 (Credits Remi Charton for the design).


A new desert dust aerosol climatology from 9-year CALIOP observations over Asia – Very happy to co-author new ACP paper of Proestakis et al. (2018), from National Observatory of Athens (NOA)!

Spatial distribution of the seasonal mean CALIPSO AOD, D_AOD, optical depth difference between AOD and D_AOD (non-dust AOD), and the percentage of D_AOD with respect to the total AOD for the domain between 65–155 E and 5–55 N and for the period January 2007–December 2015 (Proestakis et al., 2018)

A recent work achieved by my colleagues of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA): 9 years of observations acquired by the CALIOP space-borne instrument were combined with EARLINET ground-based measurements to provide a climatology of desert dust particles over South and East Asia.

Having such a knowledge is important for many research studies focused on atmospheric transport and climate effect of dust.

You can see more details on my webpage here, and the paper of Proestakis et al. (2018) published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) journal here.

2017 seen from the sky – A personal selection

2017 is about finishing, 2018 is going to take over. Here is a personal retrospective view on 2017 with a subjective selection of remarkable satellite images.

Wildfires across the globe

Massive wildfires spread across parts of the world such as Chile; Western Canada and the United States; Portugal and Spain; France and even Greenland in 2017. The most recent once, California’s Thomas Fire, was even the largest wildfire of the year in the state. MODIS AquaAqua, Sentinel-2 and many other space-borne instruments reveal these episodes and their intensity. Due to the on-going changes in our climate, it is unfortunately expected that such fires will occur again in 2018, perhaps even stronger.

Red Sun, dust and smoke in Europe

In October 2017, a unique combination of 2 independent events – fires in Portugal & Spain, and a tropical storm – brought dust and smoke all over Europe leading then an unusual red Sun observed in France, UK, Finland and the Netherlands. These events were observed notably by OMI, GOME-2 and MODIS Aqua. More information in No borders for particles! – Red Sun, Saharan dust and smoke over whole Europe

A huge 100-Mile Iceberg breaking away from Antarctica

An iceberg of 120 miles long and with a weight of more than a trillion metric tons broke away in Antarctica last July. It was floating along the so-called Larsen-C ice shell and was carefully monitored by worldwide scientists, notably by Sentinel-1 images. This event rose even more concerns about how Antarctica is evolving in the context of a warmer climate and sea level perturbations.

Such event was well documented in near-real time by our colleague Stef Lhermitte from GRS-TU Delft.

Sentinel-1 B image acquired on 12 July 2017 shown the break off of he Larsen-C ice shelf, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever. Credit ESA (Source:

California wildfire lights in, Puerto Rico lights out

Satellite images of Earth “night lights” have been a curiosity for the public and a tool of fundamental research for at least 25 years. New global maps have been released by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center using the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite. Some of them depict in an impressive way some dramatic episodes of this year: Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, leaving the island devastated and all but destroying its power grid; the fast-moving fire that swept into Ventura, California, on December 5, 2017. looking as bright as the urban Los Angeles area.

Monitoring hurricanes

Given the important images, it is important to monitor the mentioned hurricanes and tropical storms. Satellites like Sentinel-3 allow not only to characterise them (e.g. in terms of brightness temperature) but also to follow their displacement.

The Ophelia storm as observed by the Sentinel-3 A satellite. Left: image on 11.102017, when Hurricane Ophelia was about 1300 km south-west of the Azores islands and some 2000 km off the African coast. Right: Brightness temperature of the clouds at the top of the storm, some 12–15 km above the ocean, range from about –50°C near the eye of the storm to about 15°C at the edges on17.10.2017. Copyright ESA (Source:

First air quality images from TROPOMI aboard Sentinel-5 Precursor (P)

Of course, how not to finish this series without mentioning Sentinel-5 P and its instrument TROPOMI? Many persons waited for it for more than 10 years. I personally heard about it the first time some 5-6 years ago, and then waited for its launch during the last 4 years while working on my research with its predecessor OMI. And finally, just a few months before the end of my current job, Sentinel-5 P was launched, a very happy Friday 13th (October)!

With its unique high spatial resolution (7 x 3.5 km2) and top design sensor, this is the very first European operational mission dedicated to atmospheric composition within the Copernicus programme. The instrument is still under calibration until April 2018, being prepared for the developed services, and many works have to be done to derive accurate estimations of toxic gases and particles in the atmosphere. But the very 1st revealed maps of NO2 – Nitrogen dioxide, SO2 – Sulphur dioxide, O3 – Ozone, CO – Carbon monoxide are already outstanding. What is mostly remarkable are the very fine scale structures of all the pollution plumes already visible.

No doubt that the next months and years will be promising for this instrument. Air pollutants will be seen in much more detail than what has been accomplished before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite’s instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus. Even though I am going to work on another project in 2018, I will keep a close eye on the next results from TROPOMI S5P.

And in addition look at this NO2 global animation – an average over a couple of days from TROPOMI S5P. Credit KNMI / ESA here.



And so many other pictures of 2017 that I could have posted here, but I invite you to have a look to my past posted weblog pages.

Looking forward to more images and discoveries from space in 2018! And I wish to everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and a very healthy & happy new year!