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Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS)

The Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding is one of the core experiments on ESA's Envisat satellite, launched on 1st March 2002. MIPAS measures atmospheric limb emission spectra from 685-2410 cm-1 (14.5 to 4.1µm) over a tangent altitude range 6-68 km. After suitable ground processing, these spectra allow quantification of concentration profiles of numerous atmospheric trace species. In addition, atmospheric temperature as well as the distribution of aerosol particles, tropospheric cirrus, and stratospheric ice clouds (including polar stratospheric clouds) can also be derived from MIPAS data.

The objectives of MIPAS are:

  • Measurements of geophysical parameters in the middle atmosphere;
    Stratospheric chemistry: O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, NO2, and HNO3; and
    Climatology: Temperature, CH4, N2O, O3 ;
  • Study of chemical composition, dynamics, and radiation budget of the middle atmosphere;
  • Monitoring of stratospheric O3 and CFCs.

As a unique feature of MIPAS, the atmospheric parameters are determined:

  • simultaneously as colocated profiles
  • with complete global coverage
  • during day- and nighttime conditions (allowing observations of the diurnal variation of trace species), and
  • throughout its mission duration.

MIPAS Data: current status and coverage

Following the loss of communications with Envisat, there has been no MIPAS data since 8th April 2012. See Envisat Website for latest information
Jul02-Mar04: FR17
MIPAS operated at full spectral resolution (0.025cm-1) with a nominal 17 step scan pattern, giving 3km steps in the lower atmosphere (now known as "FR17" mode).
Aug04-Sep04: RR17
MIPAS operated at reduced spectral resolution (0.0625cm-1) but keeping the original scan pattern (3km steps). ESA have also processed this data to L2.
Jan05-present: RR27
Still at reduced spectral resolution (known as "Optimised Resolution") but with a nominal scan pattern consisting of 27 steps with 1.5km spacing in the lower atmosphere. In practice, a significant amount of time is also spent in "UTLS1", "MA" and "UA" modes with different altitude ranges and scan patterns [List of new Modes]. The instrument originally (2005) operated on a 35% duty cycle but since Dec 2007 has been operating full-time with a standard 10 day sequence of 8 days nominal mode, 1 day MA, 1 day UA.
  • ESA routinely produce L1B (spectra) and L2 (profiles) data, available approximately 2 weeks after acquisition
  • Since Feb08 ESA have also been producing a Near Real Time (NRT) data, available a few hours after acquisition.
  • Locations of the measurements that have been made are plotted on "MIPAS L1B Data"
  • MIPAS Mission Planning Documents show the observations that have been planned: [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011] [2012]
The Oxford L2 processor MORSE is being used to process the complete MIPAS mission (original ESA products plus additional molecules now also included in the ESA retrievals: CFC-11, CFC-12, N2O5 and ClONO2), including the NRT L1B data. See "Oxford L2 Products" for current product availability. The data are available from the BADC. The current Oxford processor version is v1.20 and all past data have been reprocessed with this.

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