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Provider: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab


  • 2378 infrared channels and 4 visable/NIR channels (AIRS instrument - hyperspectral)
  • 15 microwave channels (AMSU-A instrument)
  • 4 microwave channels (HSB instrument)

Launch Date: May 4, 2002

Description: The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS, moves climate research and weather prediction into the 21st century. AIRS is one of six instruments aboard Aqua, a satellite that is part of NASA's Earth Observing System. AIRS along with its partner microwave instrument the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU­A), represents the most advanced atmospheric sounding system ever deployed in space. Together these instruments observe the global water and energy cycles, climate variation and trends, and the response of the climate system to increased greenhouse gases. AIRS uses cutting­ edge infrared technology to create three­dimensional maps of air and surface temperature, water vapor, and cloud properties. With 2378 spectral channels, AIRS has a spectral resolution more than 100 times greater than previous infrared sounders and provides more accurate information on the vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and moisture. AIRS can also measure trace greenhouse gases such as ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane.