Missions & Sensors

This section of the WDC-RSAT website covers the sources (sensors and missions) of satellite data used for remote sensing of the atmosphere and which form the basis of many of the available products and services.
AATSR Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer This sensor is one of the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) instruments on board the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite ENVISAT. It is the most recent in a series of instruments designed primarily to measure Sea Surface Temperature (SST), following on from ATSR-1 and ATSR-2 on board ERS-1 and ERS-2.
ATOVS Advanced TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder The Advanced TOVS (ATOVS) has been flown on the NOAA satellites beginning with NOAA15 and is composed of three instrumentsl: The next generation of HIRS HIRS/3), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit AMSU-A (based on former MSU), and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit AMSU-B. Detailed ATOVS instrument information can be found in the NOAA KLM Polar Orbiter Users Guide
AVHRR Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer AVHRR is a broad-band, four-to-five channel (depending on the model) scanner, sensing in the visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This sensor is carried on NOAA's Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES), beginning with TIROS-N in 1978.
AVHRR3 Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer This sensor is a multi-spectral imaging instrument to support many different applications. AVHRR/3 is the latest version for flight from NOAA-K onwards on the USA satellites (launched in May 1998) and on EUMETSAT's Metop satellite (launched in October 2006). It is the standard instrument for global vegetation mapping at about 1 km resolution, and also monitors sea surface temperatures and ice cover.
CRISTA Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere CRISTA is a limb-scanning satellite experiment, designed and developed by the University of Wuppertal to measure infrared emissions of the earth's atmosphere. The design enables observations of small scale dynamical structures in the 15-150 km altitude region. CRISTA has successfully completed two missions: CRISTA 1 was launched on November 3, 1994 on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Measurements were obtained from November 4-12, 1994. CRISTA 2, launched on August 7, 1997 with STS-85 Discovery, made measurements between August 8-16.
GOME Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment This instrument was launched on April 21, 1995 on board the second European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2). It can measure a range of atmospheric trace constituents, with an emphasis on global ozone distribution.
GOME II Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment II This sensor is one of the European instruments carried on MetOp and launched in October 2006. GOME II will continue the long-term monitoring of atmospheric ozone started by GOME on ERS-2 and SCIAMACHY on Envisat. GOME-2 will also measure other trace gases such as NO2 and SO2.

Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer The first flight model of IASI was launched in October 2006 onboard the first European meteorological polar-orbiting satellites, METOP-A. IASI will deliver temperature, moisture and ozone profile information for the upper atmosphere.

MERIS Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer This sensor is part of the core instrument payload of ESA's environmental satellite ENVISAT, launched at the end of 2001.
MIPAS Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding This sensor is flying on the European environmental satellite ENVISAT since the end of 2001. Designed as a high-resolution limb sounder, it provides detailed insights into the chemistry of the atmosphere by observing emission spectra in the near- to mid-infrared.
MLS Microwave Limb Sounder This instrument was launched in July 2004 on board EOS-Aura. MLS will continue the long-term record of atmospheric compositions measurements (vertical profiles of O3,HCl, ClO, HOCl, BrO, OH, H2O, HO2, HNO33 N2O, CO, HCN, volcanic SO2, cloud ice, geopotential height and temperature of the atmosphere) made by the UARS sensors.
MODIS Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. MODIS is the key instrument aboard the Terra (EOS AM-1) satellite. Terra MODIS is viewing the entire Earth's surface every 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands. That data will improve our understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS plays a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making decisions. For further information see the MODIS homepage.
OMI Ozone Monitoring Instrument This instrument was launched in July 2004 on board EOS-Aura. OMI monitors the recovery of the ozone layer in response to the phase out of chemicals, such as CFCs. Together with its companion instruments MLS and HIRDLS it will measure criteria pollutants such as O3, NO2, SO2 and aerosols.
SABER SABER (Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry) is one of four instruments on NASA's Timed (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission. SABER enhances knowledge of the radiation budget, it measures the vertical distribution of ozone, water vapor and carbon and provides new information about how temperature, density and pressure change with altitude. During the mission, SABER will produce a global picture of how the MLTI (Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere / Ionosphere) region changes over time.
SCIAMACHY Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography This atmospheric sensor is flown on the European environmental satellite ENVISAT since the end of 2001. It measures atmospheric absorption in spectral bands from the ultraviolet to the near infrared, providing knowledge about the composition, dynamics and radiation balance of the atmosphere.
SEVIRI Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager This Instrument observes aboard Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) from a geostationary orbit with improved performance compared to its Meteosat predecessors. Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) is a cooperative programme between EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and ESA (European Space Agency).
TOMS Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer This atmospheric sensor has been flying on different missions within NASA's Earth Probes Program. The objective is to extend the global ozone data set that began in 1978 with the flight of TOMS on NIMBUS-7.