NERC Airborne Research Facility (NERC-ARF)

Airborne remote sensing provides an efficient method for the rapid collection of data over a specified area, as a cost effective means of monitoring the environment around us. This project enables the rapid acquisition of data for sudden or unexpected events, such as floods and earthquakes, using a research aircraft based at Gloucester Airport, UK.


Since 1983, the NERC-ARF (formerly ARSF) facility has supported a wide range of applications, including environmental science, archaeology, geologic surveying, pollution control and disaster management, such as analysis of the ash cloud which resulted from the Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010.

Data are processed by an analysis team here at PML. Since 2007 we have processed data from 15 countries, with over 120 peer-reviewed papers using NERC-ARF data or support. NERC-ARF has handled over 15TB of raw data since 2010, and written from-scratch software for complete end-to-end processing of NERC-ARF spectral data; allowing users to easily undertake processing on their own data.

Following a review of NERC Services and Facilities funding for NERC-ARF ended in March 2019. However, PML continue to offer airborne processing capability and support for the archive of airborne data through NEODAAS.

For further information please see our twitter feed @NERC_ARF_DAN

Key information

Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) - National Capability

Project start date: January 1983

View the project website

Share this page



Steve Groom
Head of Science - Earth Observation Science and Applications

Other participants

Aser Mata, Dr Daniel Clewley, Dr Mark Warren