AERONET - A federated instrument network and data archive for aerosol characterization

Brent N. Holben, T. F. Eck, I. Slutsker, D. Tanré, J. P. Buis, A. Setzer, E. Vermote, J. A. Reagan, Y. J. Kaufman, T. Nakajima, F. Lavenu, I. Jankowiak, A. Smirnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6036 Scopus citations


The concept and description of a remote sensing aerosol monitoring network initiated by NASA, developed to support NASA, CNES, and NASDA's Earth satellite systems under the name AERONET and expanded by national and international collaboration, is described. Recent development of weather-resistant automatic sun and sky scanning spectral radiometers enable frequent measurements of atmospheric aerosol optical properties and precipitable water at remote sites. Transmission of automatic measurements via the geostationary satellites GOES and METEOSATS' Data Collection. Systems allows reception and processing in near real-time from approximately 75% of the Earth's surface and with the expected addition of GMS, the coverage will increase to 90% in 1998. NASA developed a UNIX-based near real-time processing, display and analysis system providing internet access to the emerging global database. Information on the system is available on the project homepage, The philosophy of an open access database, centralized processing and a user-friendly graphical interface has contributed to the growth of international cooperation for ground-based aerosol monitoring and imposes a standardization for these measurements. The system's automatic data acquisition, transmission, and processing facilitates aerosol characterization on local, regional, and global scales with applications to transport and radiation budget studies, radiative transfer-modeling and validation of satellite aerosol retrievals. This article discusses the operation and philosophy of the monitoring system, the precision and accuracy of the measuring radiometers, a brief description of the processing system, and access to the database.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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