Facilities and Instrumentation

Our instruments, data facilities and key tools for Earth Observation support the work of NERC scientists undertaking research anywhere worldwide.

NCEO hosts dedicated infrastructure for processing and storing data and performing model comparisons, and provides a centralised source of instrumentation and measurement expertise to support Earth Observation science.

Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA)

NCEO offers access to data, alongside massive storage, processing and analysis capabilities, through the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) on the JASMIN computing infrastructure.

JASMIN hosts a range of activities, including the Climate and Environmental Monitoring from Space (CEMS) facility, to support the analysis requirements of the UK and European climate and environmental science community.

The CEDA Earth Observation data archive is the largest in the UK, with over a Petabyte of satellite data and related data products. It contains over two decades’ worth of satellite data from a range of satellite missions, whilst the data from the NERC ARSF aircraft campaigns extends back to 1982. It is the UK academic data hub for ESA’s Sentinel missions, with responsibility for storing data and providing access to it for the science community.

CEMS is run in collaboration with the Satellite Applications Catapult at Harwell to support scientists and industry working together to promote commercial exploitation of EO data. It offers access to collaborative workspaces, hosted processing, high performance computing, and a cloud computing environment that NERC scientists can access remotely.

There are user guides on the CEDA-CEMS website – please click on the CEDA link to find these. You can also download this ‘new user experience’ to using JASMIN, written by an NCEO postgraduate student.

Field Spectroscopy Facility (FSF)

NCEO provides governance and oversight of NERC’s Field Spectroscopy Facility at the University of Edinburgh, which provides optical sensing expertise and equipment for assessing the spectral properties of vegetation, rocks, soil and water under different observing conditions.

Ground-based spectral measurements are used to study critical environmental phenomena, such as the photosynthetic activity of vegetation or the changing albedo of snow and ice under different conditions. They are also important for developing and validating data products from satellite and aircraft missions.

The Facility includes a calibration and test laboratory for scientists to characterise new equipment. The FSF can support NERC science and the wider UK research community, subject to peer review and appropriate funding support for the type and size of project.

All new users are offered a period of extended training in both equipment use and measurement principles.

NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS)

NEODAAS is a 24-hour / 7-day per week satellite data reception and processing facility based at the University of Dundee Satellite Receiving Station and Plymouth Marine Laboratory Remote Sensing Group.

It provides near-real-time and archive data processing for UK research scientists anywhere worldwide. Near-real-time satellite data, derived within minutes of reception, are used to guide marine research cruises and aircraft campaigns to the most scientifically valuable locations.

NEODAAS receives direct-broadcast data from a wide range of polar-orbiting missions, and has long-term archives of AVHRR, CZCS, MODIS, SeaWiFS and VIIRS data.

The facility has global coverage for geostationary satellites and automatically archives all received data, making it available for view over the web. There are about 7,000 new user registrations and 4.5 million image downloads per year.

NEODAAS downloads global data directly from space agencies and produces time-series of ‘standard’ environmental metrics such as ocean colour and sea-surface temperature, but also bespoke scientific products tailored to individual users.

The NEODAAS data portal provides options for data visualisation and can give advice and guidance on how best to interpret EO datasets.

Other NCEO Capabilities

NCEO is on the steering committee of the NERC Airborne Research and Survey Facility (ARSF), which conducts airborne remote sensing campaigns in the UK, Europe and worldwide. We are contributing instruments to the network of ground-based Fourier Transform Spectrometers, called TCCON, to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and other gases at about 18 sites around the globe to validate satellite observations.

Other publicly available data include measurements of atmospheric aerosols from the FSF Cimel sun photometer, which is part of the global AERONET sun photometer network. Other EO measurement capabilities within NCEO institutions include Fourier Transform IR Spectroscopy, terrestrial laser scanning and IR imaging.

NCEO institutions have developed a range of retrieval algorithm, data assimilation models, analysis tools and underpinning data that can be used to either simulate or best exploit key EO datasets. The expertise in these and other widely used third-party tools are available to the research community in the UK and internationally.

NCEO Capital Items

The PDF below contains a list of NCEO Instruments available for use with potential collaborators. If you have a proposal, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch with the relevant contact by e-mail.

Capital Items PDF

Video about the NERC Airborne Research and Survey Facility