Weather, Climate and Composition Science from AIRS
AIRS moves climate research and weather prediction into the 21st century. AIRS is one of six instruments on board the Aqua satellite, part of the NASA Earth Observing System. AIRS along with its partner microwave instrument the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit AMSU-A, represents the most advanced atmospheric sounding system ever deployed in space. Together these instruments observe the global water and energy cycles, climate variation and trends, and the response of the climate system to increased greenhouse gases.
With it's vantage point from space, AIRS makes a total of 2.9 million observations around the globe each day. Measurements derived from AIRS data rival the quality of US weather balloons, but offer a data set that is consistent, uniform, and accurate, and global.
AIRS is the first spaceborne instrument designed specifically to measure the most critical global climate change indicators. AIRS' cutting edge technology allows it to measure the amounts of water vapor and greenhouse gases with remarkable precision and accuracy.
Composition research is geared toward creating a better understanding of the following four science areas: the changes in atmospheric composition and the timescales over which they occur, the reaction of trace components in the atmosphere to global environmental change, the effects of global atmospheric chemical and climate changes, and air quality.