• Energy and Environment
  • Transport and Mobility

Center for aerosol Remote Sensing (CARS ACTRIS)



Our platform ensures the scientific and technical management of the solar/lunar photometers, located in France, Europe and Africa, within the framework of the AERONET network. The platform is integrated in a National Observation Service of INSU and is a constituent unit of the Central Facility CARS (Center for Aerosol Remote Sensing) of the European infrastructure ACTRIS. Our activity allows generation and documentation in real time of descriptive variables of atmospheric aerosols, which play a key role in the Earth's climate and air quality. Our activity is also essential for the approval of space missions for earth and atmosphere observation. In 2019, lidar observation has been integrated into the platform's activities.


  • Philippe Goloub
  • Luc BLAREL
    Technical manager
  • Thierry Podvin
    Technical manager


Bâtiment P5, Avenue Paul Langevin
Campus cité scientifique, Université de Lille


Center for aerosol Remote Sensing

Chiffres clés

• Management of 80 sites in Europe, Africa and Asia
• 60 users/partners outside France
• 30 users/partners in France
• Calibration capacity / year = 100 photometers


Effectif total : 14



• Aerosol optical measurements by solar/lunar photometric technology (network approach)
• Aerosol optical measurements using Mie-Polarized-Raman-Fluorescence lidar technology (network approach)
• Optical aerosol measurements using mobile systems (car, plane, boat)
• Network management of instruments in Europe and Africa
• Instrumental, methodological and algorithmic development
• Field measurement campaigns (regional, national, international)

Services offers

Applications sectors

  • Aeronautics / Aerospace
  • Science / Research

Services provided

• Production of aerosol descriptive variables in near-real time
• Public availability of these data in quasi-real time (between +15 min and +1 hour)
• Quality control and quality assurance
• Monitoring of the instrumentation, quality control
• Annual maintenance and calibration of instruments (for the photometric part)
• Improvement of measurement, characterization and calibration protocols (optical, electronic, mechanical, algorithmic)
• Instrumental development (photometry and lidar) and TRL increase, in connection with the industry.
• Algorithmic development (photometry and lidar) and the mutualization of its application via the AERIS/ICARE data and service center
• Loan of instruments for scientific campaigns
• Organization of measurement campaigns

Training offers

Annual training courses for AERONET and IR ACTRIS users

Consulting services

We provide consulting services related to all our areas of expertise.


We possess a range of equipment:
• Solar photometers, automatic lunar Cimel CE318T in the AERONET/ACTRIS network
• LiDAR Aerosol/Cloud/Water Vapor Research (LILAS), European network EARLINET/ACTRIS
• Three photometric calibration platforms (Lille, Haute-Provence and Hawaii (USA))
• Mobile Aerosol Measurement System (MAMS), 3D aerosol variability measurement
• Integrating spheres (photometric calibration)
• Automatic micro-lidar (METIS, CE376), for vertical aerosol profiling


Nom Modèle Marque
Calibration and functional test line
Reference photometers CE318T/ CIMEL
Radiometric and polarimetric calibration line
Reference LiDAR (LILAS) semi automatic
Automatic LiDAR (METIS) CE376/ CIMEL


Affiliated institutions / organisations


Unit(s) of attachment



Regional strategic areas of activity

  • Energy and Environment
    • Observation, monitoring and management of the environment
  • Transport and Mobility
    • Reduction of pollution and energy consumption