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Simple ARD Service: about the data

Sentinel satellites in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus programme provide openly accessible, high-resolution data every few days.  The Sentinel-1 (radar) and Sentinel-2 (optical) missions generate data which is particularly suitable for terrestrial monitoring.

Before it can be used, satellite data needs to be processed to correct for distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere and surface.  This requires specialist skills and considerable computing power, which can be a barrier to uptake. The Simple ARD Service produces analysis-ready Sentinel-1 and -2 data, saving users time and money.

Sentinel-1 ARD provides radar backscatter values at 10 m resolution. Radar backscatter is influenced by terrain and surface roughness, providing information on environmental conditions such as forest structure, flood extent and soil moisture.  A key benefit of radar data is that it can be collected day and night, unaffected by cloud cover.

Sentinel-2 ARD provides surface reflectance values in 10 spectral bands at 10 m resolution.  Surface reflectance shows which wavelengths of light are most strongly reflected and which are absorbed, providing insight into environmental conditions such as crop health and habitat condition.

The Simple ARD Service data catalogue covers the period from February 2019 to the present.  It is maintained on a rolling basis, with new data being processed the week after acquisition.

For further details about the ARD and how to access it, please see the resources on our support for users page.

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Simple ARD Service

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