9 November 2012 Performance status of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder ten years after launch
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The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) is a hyperspectral infrared instrument on the EOS Aqua Spacecraft, launched on May 4, 2002. AIRS has 2378 infrared channels ranging from 3.7 μm to 15.4 μm and a 13.5 km footprint at nadir. The AIRS is a “facility” instrument developed by NASA as an experimental demonstration of advanced technology for remote sensing and the benefits of high resolution infrared spectra to science investigations. AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), produces temperature profiles with 1K/km accuracy on a global scale, as well as water vapor profiles and trace gas amounts for CO2, CO, SO2, O3 and CH4. AIRS data are used for weather forecasting, climate process studies and validating climate models. The AIRS instrument has far exceeded its required design life of 5 years, with over 10 years of operations as of September 2012. While the instrument has performed exceptionally well, with little signs of wear, the AIRS Project continues to monitor and maintain the health of AIRS, characterize its behavior and improve performance where possible. Radiometric stability has been monitored and trending shows better than 16 mK/year stability. Spectral calibration stability is better than 1 ppm/year, and a new gain table was recently uploaded to recover 100 significantly degraded or dead channels by switching to their redundant counterpart. At this time we expect the AIRS to continue to perform well for the next decade.
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Thomas S. Pagano, Steve Broberg, Hartmut H. Aumann, Denis Elliott, Evan Manning, Larrabee Strow, "Performance status of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder ten years after launch", Proc. SPIE 8527, Multispectral, Hyperspectral, and Ultraspectral Remote Sensing Technology, Techniques and Applications IV, 852703 (9 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.977309; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.977309

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