The sites

AirCore-Fr sites

This map shows the various sites around the globe where AirCore have been launched as part as the French AirCore program.

AirCore-light are launched regularly under meteorological ballons at four sites located in France: Aire-sur-l’Adour, Trainou, Reims and Puy-de-Dôme.

AirCore-HR and AirCore-light are launched under Open Stratospheric Balloons by CNES during the StratoSciences annual campaign at three sites : Timmins (Canada), Kiruna (Sweden) and Alice Springs (Australia).

Site Aire-sur-l’Adour Alice Springs Kiruna Puy-de-Dôme Reims Timmins Trainou
Country France Australia Sweden France France Ontario, Canada France
Latitude 43.71 N -67.89 N 61.88 N 49.24 N 47.97 N
Longitude -0.25 E 133.88 E 21.07 E 4.07 E 2.09 E

Aire-sur-l’Adour: balloon launching super site

Aire-sur-l’Adour CNES site

The CNES Balloon Operations Center at Aire sur l’Adour (CLBA), in the Landes, maintains operational resources and permanent staff on site, to ensure the preparation of BSO and BPS balloon campaigns abroad (STRATEOLE 2, STRATOSCIENCES campaigns in Timmins, Kiruna, Alice springs), flight control of long-term balloons in control centers, and release of light dilatable balloons (BLD).

With the miniaturization of embedded electronics, the BLD activity has grown significantly over the last 5 years, and the CLBA operates annually, since 2014, dozens of BLD, which can carry small payloads up to 3 kg up to 35 km altitude, mainly for measurements of vertical profiles of atmospheric components. More than 140 flights have been completed in 5 years. The payloads are recovered within a radius of a little over 100 km around Aire sur l’Adour. The scientific instruments that flew or fly regularly are: LOAC, particle and aerosol counter of LPC2E, AMULSE from GSMA, AirCore from LMD, Pico SDLA Light from GSMA / DT INSU, the latter 3 instruments being dedicated to GHG measurements. The CLBA offers all the resources of a CNES operational center: guarding, various test facilities, mechanical workshop, VT caisson, offices, rest rooms, internet access, integration hall, launching track of 200 m. The nearby airfield runway allows the SAFIRE research aircraft to descend to a very low level.


Trainou-Orléans: a European supersite for greenhouse gas measurements

The Trainou observatory in the Orléans forest is dedicated to the measurement of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O). Since it was installed in 2006 as part of a European research project, it has made it possible to precisely track, hour by hour, the evolution of the atmospheric contents of these gases. It is currently the only observatory in Europe combining greenhouse gas measurements at the surface level (from 5 to 180 m), in the lower atmosphere (from 100 to 3000 m) by air, in the high atmosphere (from 0 to 30 km) by balloon, and on the total atmospheric column by remote sensing from the ground. As such, the observatory is a reference station for the measurement of vertical profiles of greenhouse gases, and is part of several European research projects: European research infrastructure ICOS (, international network TCCON, European project H2020 RINGO (


MDH-Reims observatory

MDH-Reims team during a campaign in February 2020 (c) C. Crevoisier, 2020

The “mdh-Reims” site (Responsible Lilian Joly – GSMA UMR 7331 – Lat: 49.242779 °, long: 4.067718 °) has made 75 releases of weather balloons since 2014 for the measurement of profiles dedicated to CO2 / CH4 / CO / H2O / O3 / P / T / RH between 0 and 30 km altitude. Since the beginning of 2019, this site has had a permanent flight authorization and monthly releases are carried out as part of the TOSCA / CNES MAGIC project (lead by Cyril Crevoisier – LMD). This site also aims to welcome scientists to make measurements and test their instruments under a weather balloon. This site has been listed in the database of sites of the European ICOS network. In 2020, the site was equipped with an EM27 / SUN for measuring the integrated CO2 / CH4 / CO columns and a 48m mast with in situ CO2 / CH4 / CO measurements (at 48 and 21 m) will be available in 2020.

CO-PDD observatory

CO-PDD platform for balloon launches and FTS measurements
CO-PDD platform for balloon launches and FTS measurements

The CO-PDD observatory (Cézeaux-Opme-Puy de Dome) is an atmospheric instrumented site labeled by INSU/CNRS and involved in international infrastructures and observation networks such as GAW (Global Atmospheric Watch), ACTRIS (Aerosol Cloud and Trace gases Research Infrastructure), and ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System). Composed of three measurement sites located at different altitudes within a radius of about ten kilometers around the agglomeration of Clermont Ferrand, it hosts in-situ and remote sensing systems and  produces measurements of aerosol and reactive and greenhouse gases, but also microphysical and chemical measurements of clouds and precipitation. In recent years, significant scientific advances have been obtained in the characterization of multi-scale atmospheric processes. The long-term continuous monitoring of a large number of climate-sensitive atmospheric compounds is fundamental for the estimation of their long-term climatologies and trends, and for satellite validation or synergy.