Published: July 10, 2019

January 9, 2013

An overview of the types of atmospheric science research being done with data from AIRS, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. Orbiting Earth from pole to pole, AIRS gathers data that leads to measurements of atmospheric temperature and water vapor, from the surface to the top of the atmosphere. AIRS data also provides measurements of many of Earth's trace gases including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, methane, dust, cloud properties and outgoing longwave radiation.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, with its visible, infrared, and microwave detectors, provides a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather. Working in tandem, the three instruments can make simultaneous observations all the way down to the Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, 3-D map of atmospheric temperature and humidity and provides information on clouds, greenhouse gases, and many other atmospheric phenomena. The AIRS Infrared Sounder Experiment flies onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

AIRS web site:

AIRS images on Flickr: