For over three decades the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (OLS) has demonstrated a unique nighttime imaging capability using a high gain visible channel. Designed primarily to detect clouds through relative moonlight reflection contrasts, quantitative applications based on the OLS nighttime visible data are limited due to low radiometric (6-bit, or 64 count levels) resolution, lack of calibration, and not being accompanied by a large suite of other spectral bands (only a single thermal infrared window channel). Despite these limitations, the fundamental capabilities enabled by the nighttime visible band are truly unique, and worthy of closer inspection by the terrestrial, atmospheric, and space science communities alike-particularly in light of the inclusion of a comparable "Day/Night visible Band" (DNB) upon the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) scheduled to fly upon the National Polar-orbiting Operation Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) constellation (and a risk-reduction preview upon the NPOESS Preparatory Project Satellite). This paper anticipates some of the capabilities of the VIIRS-DNB in the context of nighttime dust storm and snow cover mapping from lunar reflection, based on heritage sensors from the contemporary environmental satellite constellation.
This paper summarizes design, performance estimates and applications of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS is approaching Engineering Development Unit (EDU) integration and flight model assembly for delivery in late 2005 for launch on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite in 2006. Applications of VIIRS are anticipated to represent dramatic improvements over heritage capability from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Line-scanning System (OLS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). VIIRS draws heavily on the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua satellites MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS), offering similar spectroradiometry at better spatial resolution. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed VIIRS on-orbit performance simulations based on MODIS data to illustrate the dramatic improvements VIIRS will offer compared to current operational satellites for meteorology.
This paper chronicles the end-to-end data procurement, customized algorithm development and automated processing systems, product distribution, and ultimate user application of selected time-critical satellite meteorology applications developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in support of Department of Defense (DoD) assets during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In particular, a mechanism for obtaining high spatial/spectral resolution near real-time data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments found aboard the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua research platforms for operational support was developed through an inter-agency collaboration between the DoD, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Value-added (e.g., dust detection, convective cloud heights, snow/cloud and fire detection) products derived from these low-latency data were then hosted on secure Internet bandwidth via the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) operational portal. The MODIS products factored significantly into a wide range of operational requirements that included strike briefs, aircraft routing, ship navigation, sensor targeting and weapons selection. Included herein are dramatic excerpts from direct correspondence between NRL scientists and Naval Meteorology/Oceanography (METOC) officers aboard aircraft carriers deployed in the Arabian Gulf who were actively using these products to support their various mission requirements.