Tag Archives: atmospheric infrared sounder

Hidden Wildfires Taking Big Toll on Amazon Rainforest

Using an innovative satellite technique, NASA scientists have determined that a previously unmapped type of wildfire in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for destroying several times more forest than has been lost through deforestation in recent years.

In the southern Amazon rainforest, fires below the forest treetops, or “understory fires,” have been hidden from view from NASA satellites that detect actively burning fires. The new method has now led to the first regional estimate of understory fire damages across the southern Amazon. (more…)

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A NASA Weather ‘Eye in the Sky’ Marks 10 Years

For 10 years, it has silently swooped through space in its orbital perch 438 miles (705 kilometers) above Earth, its nearly 2,400 spectral “eyes” peering into Earth’s atmosphere, watching. But there’s nothing alien about NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS, instrument, a “monster” of weather and climate research that celebrates its 10th birthday in orbit May 4.

AIRS, built by BAE Systems, Boston, under the direction of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is one of six instruments flying on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft as part of NASA’s Earth Observing System. AIRS, along with its partner microwave instrument, the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A), has faithfully measured our planet’s atmospheric temperature, water vapor, clouds and greenhouse gases with unprecedented accuracy and stability. Over the past decade, AIRS and AMSU-A have improved our understanding of Earth’s global water and energy cycles, climate change and trends and how Earth’s climate system is responding to increased greenhouse gases. (more…)

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NASA Satellite Shows a Mean Irene’s Fury

After pounding North Carolina and Virginia on Aug. 27, Hurricane Irene made a second landfall near Little Egg Inlet, N.J., early Sunday morning, Aug. 28, still as a category one hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour). It then weakened slightly before making a third landfall over Coney Island, N.Y. as a 65-mph (100-kilometer-per-hour) tropical storm. Irene’s heavy rains, winds and storm surge are causing widespread problems throughout the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

This infrared image of Irene was taken by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft at 2:47 a.m. EDT on Aug. 27, a few hours before the storm’s second landfall in New Jersey. (more…)

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NASA Picks a Festive Clover of Ireland Images

March 17 marks St. Patrick’s Day — a day when shamrocks, Ireland and “wearing of the green” are especially en vogue. To celebrate this festive occasion, NASA’s Aqua satellite has picked a clover of different views of the Emerald Isle, Ireland.

The collection of images acquired by Aqua’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on March 3, 2011, includes near-infrared/visible, infrared and microwave light views of the land where St. Patrick’s Day originated. (more…)

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NASA Satellite Tracks Menacing Australian Cyclone

Fresh on the heels of a series of crippling floods that began in December 2010, and a small tropical cyclone, Anthony, this past weekend, the northeastern Australian state of Queensland is now bracing for what could become one of the largest tropical cyclones the state has ever seen.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., captured this infrared image of Yasi on Jan. 31, 2011, at 6:29 a.m. PST (9:29 a.m. EST). The AIRS data create an accurate 3-D map of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and clouds, data that are useful to forecasters. The image shows the temperature of Yasi’s cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions. The coldest cloud-top temperatures appear in purple, indicating towering cold clouds and heavy precipitation. The infrared signal of AIRS does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds, AIRS reads the infrared signal from the surface of the ocean waters, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red. (more…)

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NASA infrared imagery shows well-defined eye in Category 5 Celia

Celia has exploded into a monster hurricane in the Eastern Pacific, and is now a Category 5 storm over open waters.

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an infrared image (that shows temperature) of Celia’s clouds and clearly shows an eye in the storm.

(more…)

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