30 December 2004 The atmospheric infrared sounder: an overview
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The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) was launched in May 2002. Along with two companion microwave sensors, it forms the AIRS Sounding Suite. This system is the most advanced atmospheric sounding system to date, with measurement accuracies far surpassing those available on current weather satellites. The data products are calibrated radiances from all three sensors and a number of derived geophysical parameters, including vertical temperature and humidity profiles, surface temperature, cloud fraction, cloud top pressure, and ozone burden. These products are generated under cloudy as well as clear conditions. An ongoing calibration/validation effort has confirmed that the system is very accurate and stable, and most of the geophysical parameters have been validated. AIRS is in some cases more accurate than any other source and can therefore be difficult to validate, but this offers interesting new research opportunities. The applications for the AIRS products range from numerical weather prediction to atmospheric research - where the AIRS water vapor products near the surface and in the mid to upper troposphere will make it possible to characterize and model phenomena that are key for short-term atmospheric processes, such as weather patterns, to long-term processes, such as interannual cycles (e.g., El Niño) and climate change.
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Bjorn H. Lambrigtsen, Eric J. Fetzer, Sung-Yung Lee, Fredrick W. Irion, Thomas J. Hearty, Steven L. Gaiser, Luke L. Chen, Thomas S. Pagano, Hartmut H.G. Aumann, Moustafa T. Chahine, "The atmospheric infrared sounder: an overview", Proc. SPIE 5652, Passive Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Clouds IV, (30 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.578987; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.578987

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