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Eradiate: a next-generation radiative transfer model for Earth observation applications


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Eradiate Radiative Transfer Model

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Eradiate is a modern radiative transfer simulation software package for Earth observation applications. Its main focus is accuracy, and for that purpose, it uses the Monte Carlo ray tracing method to solve the radiative transfer equation.

Detailed list of features

  • Spectral computation
    Solar reflective spectral region Eradiate ships spectral data within from 280 nm to 2400 nm. This range can be extended with additional data (just ask for it!).
    Line-by-line simulation These are true monochromatic simulations (as opposed to narrow band simulations). Eradiate provides monochromatic absorption datasets spanning the wavelength range [250, 3125] nm. It also supports user-defined absorption data provided it complies with the dataset format specifications.
    Band simulation These simulations computes results in spectral bands. The correlated k-distribution (CKD) method with configurable quadrature rule is used. This method achieves a trade-off between performance and accuracy for the simulation of absorption by gases. Eradiate ships with absorption datasets suitable for use within the CKD method in spectral bands of variable width (including 1 nm and 10 nm wavelength bands and 100 cm^-1 wavenumber bands), from 250 nm up to 3125 nm. It also supports user-defined absorption data provided it complies with the dataset format specifications.
  • Atmosphere
    One-dimensional atmospheric profiles Both standard profiles, e.g. the AFGL (1986) profiles, and customized profiles are supported.
    Plane-parallel and spherical-shell geometries This allows for more accurate results at high illumination and viewing angles.
  • Surface
    Lambertian and RPV reflection models Model parameters can be varied against the spectral dimensions.
    Detailed surface geometry Add a discrete canopy model (either disk-based abstract models, or more realistic mesh-based models).
    Combine with atmospheric profiles Your discrete canopy can be integrated within a scene featuring a 1D atmosphere model in a fully coupled simulation.
  • Illumination
    Directional illumination model An ideal illumination model with a Delta angular distribution.
    Many irradiance datasets Pick your favourite—or bring your own.
  • Measure
    Top-of-atmosphere radiance and BRF computation An ideal model suitable for satellite data simulation.
    Perspective camera sensor Greatly facilitates scene setup: inspecting the scene is very easy.
    Many instrument spectral response functions Our SRF data is very close to the original data, and we provide advice to further clean up the data, trading off accuracy for performance.
  • Monte Carlo ray tracing
    Mitsuba renderer as radiometric kernel We leverage the advanced Python API of this cutting-edge C++ rendering library.
    State-of-the-art volumetric path tracing algorithm Mitsuba ships a null-collision-based volumetric path tracer which performs well in the cases Eradiate is used for.
  • Traceability
    Documented data and formats We explain where our data comes from and how users can build their own data in a format compatible with Eradiate's input.
    Transparent algorithms Our algorithms are researched and documented, and their implementation is open-source.
    Thorough testing Eradiate is shipped with a large unit testing suite and benchmarked periodically against community-established reference simulation software.
  • Interface
    Comprehensive Python interface Abstractions are derived from computer graphics and Earth observation and are designed to feel natural to EO scientists.
    Designed for interactive usage Jupyter notebooks are now an essential tool in the digital scientific workflow.
    Integration with Python scientific ecosystem The implementation is done using the Scientific Python stack.
    Standard data formats (mostly NetCDF) Eradiate uses predominantly xarray data structures for I/O.

Installation and usage

For build and usage instructions, please refer to the documentation.


Got a question? Please visit our discussion forum.

Authors and acknowledgements

Eradiate is developed by a core team consisting of Vincent Leroy, Sebastian Schunke, Nicolas Misk and Yves Govaerts.

Eradiate uses the Mitsuba 3 renderer, developed by the Realistic Graphics Lab, taking advantage of its Python interface and proven architecture, and extends it with components implementing numerical methods and models used in radiative transfer for Earth observation. The Eradiate team acknowledges Mitsuba creators and contributors for their work.

The development of Eradiate is funded by the Copernicus programme through a project managed by the European Space Agency (contract no 40000127201/19/I‑BG). The design phase was funded by the MetEOC-3 project (EMPIR grant 16ENV03).

Citing Eradiate

The most general citation is as follows:

    author = {Leroy, Vincent and Nollet, Yvan and Schunke, Sebastian and Misk, Nicolas and Govaerts, Yves},
    license = {LGPL-3.0},
    title = {Eradiate radiative transfer model},
    url = {},
    doi = {10.5281/zenodo.7224314},
    year = {2024}

If you want to reference a specific version, you can update the previous citation with doi, year and version fields populated with metadata retrieved from our Zenodo records. Example:

    author = {Leroy, Vincent and Nollet, Yvan and Schunke, Sebastian and Misk, Nicolas and Govaerts, Yves},
    license = {LGPL-3.0},
    title = {Eradiate radiative transfer model},
    url = {},
    doi = {10.5281/zenodo.10411036},
    year = {2023},
    version = {0.25.0},


Eradiate is free software licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (v3).

Project status

Eradiate is actively developed. It is beta software.