Abstract

Since 18 December 2004, the PARASOL satellite is a member of the so-called A-train atmospheric orbital observatory, flying together with Aqua, Aura, CALIPSO, CLOUDSAT, and OCO satellites. These satellites combine for the first time a full suite of instruments for observing aerosols and clouds, using passive radiometer complementarily with active lidar and radar sounders. The PARASOL payload is extensively derived from the instrument developed for the POLDER programs that performs measurements of bidirectionality and polarization for a very wide field-of-view and for a visible∕near-infrared spectral range. An overview of the results obtained during the commissioning phase and the reevaluation after one year in orbit is presented. In-flight calibration methods are briefly described, and radiometric and geometric performances are both evaluated. All algorithms are based on a panel of methods using mainly natural targets previously developed for POLDER missions and adapted or redeveloped in the PARASOL context. Regarding performances, all mission requirements are met except for band 443 (not recommended for use). After one year in orbit, a perfect geometrical stability was found while a slight decrease of the radiometric sensitivity was observed and corrected through an innovative multitemporal algorithm based on observations of bright and scattered convective clouds. The scientific exploitation of PARASOL has now begun, particularly by coupling these specific observations with other A-train sensor measurements.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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