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The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), and the Humidity Sounder for Brazil (HSB) form an integrated cross-track scanning temperature and humidity sounding system on the Aqua satellite of the Earth Observing System (EOS). AIRS is an infrared spectrometer/radiometer that covers the 3.7-15.4-μm spectral range with 2378 spectral channels. AMSU is a 15-channel microwave radiometer operating between 23 and 89 GHz. HSB is a four-channel microwave radiometer that makes measurements between 150 and 190 GHz. In addition to supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's interest in process study and climate research, AIRS is the first hyperspectral infrared radiometer designed to support the operational requirements for medium-range weather forecasting of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and other numerical weather forecasting centers. AIRS, together with the AMSU and HSB microwave radiometers, will achieve global retrieval accuracy of better than 1 K in the lower troposphere under clear and partly cloudy conditions. This paper presents an overview of the science objectives, AIRS/AMSU/HSB data products, retrieval algorithms, and the ground-data processing concepts. The EOS Aqua was launched on May 4, 2002 from Vandenberg AFB, CA, into a 705-km-high, sun-synchronous orbit. Based on the excellent radiometric and spectral performance demonstrated by AIRS during prelaunch testing, which has by now been verified during on-orbit testing, we expect the assimilation of AIRS data into the numerical weather forecast to result in significant forecast range and reliability improvements.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:41 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2003