About BioPAL


ESA’s seventh Earth Explorer mission, the BIOMASS mission, will provide crucial information about the state of our forests, how they are changing and the role they play in the global carbon cycle. This mission is designed to provide, for the first time from space, P-band Synthetic Aperture Radar measurements to determine the amount of biomass stored in forests. However, the novelty of BIOMASS’s sensors poses the challenges:

  1. to develop scientific processing algorithms with limited calibration and validation data pre-launch;

  2. for timely improvement and updating of operational BIOMASS algorithms with the mission launch in 2023;

  3. to enable scientific community formation for rapid scientific discovery with BIOMASS generated data products.

The BIOMASS Product Algorithm Laboratory (BioPAL) is an open-source scientific computing project, supporting the development of ESA’s BIOMASS mission algorithms coded in Python. The goal of the BioPAL project is to bridge the gap between advancements in scientific algorithm development and fast integration of these advancements into ESA’s BIOMASS’s ground operations. It is the first time that an official ESA Earth Explorer operational processor is supported by open and collaborative development of processing algorithms within the scope of an open-source software project and community.

BioPAL Community

BioPAL's community includes scientists, developers and ESA staff. Our community is jointly creating and reshaping technology for processing data of ESA's BIOMASS mission. We endeavour to include the broader scientific community in the enhancement of BioPAL and BIOMASS algorithms. We also strive to extend the initially proposed operational BIOMASS algorithm suite as new insight into BIOMASS data become available. Today, available examples of project software include the tools and configurations related to the deployment of the BIOMASS L2 prototype processors. The software developed by the project is released under the MIT open source license, developed openly and hosted in public repositories under the BioPAL GitHub organization. BioPAL GitHub organization Additionally, BioPAL provides API documentation, tutorials, access to simulated mission data, and example workflows for BIOMASS L2 processing algorithms.

First BioPALs

Maciej Soja
MJ Soja Consulting
Mauro Mariotti d'Alessandro
Politecnico di Milano
Alberto Alonso-Gonzales
Francesco Banda
Emanuele Giorgi
Paolo Mazzucchelli
Stefanie Lumnitz
Clément Albinet
Klaus Scipal
Bjorn Rommen
Nuno Miranda

Supporting institutions