AIRS Profiles Monitor Weather Changes

An advanced hyperspectral sounder (called AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua polar orbiting satellite uses radiance measurements of atmospheric emission in thousands of channels to retrieve detailed information about the temperature and mositure structure of the atmosphere. These profiles are assimilated into weather forecast models or used in a diagnostic mode to better understand changing atmospheric conditions in order to produce better weather forecasts. Shown below is an example of conventional radiosonde (RAOB) profiles at 12h intervals on April 23-24, 2009 and AIRS profiles of temperature and moisture at 19Z and 09Z on April 23rd and 24th, respectively. Note the good agreement between the RAOB and AIRS profiles. SPoRT is working with NWS forecasters to demonstrate how to use the asynoptic AIRS profiles in conjunction with the RAOB data to monitor changing weather conditions.

Comparison of AIRS and RAOB profiles for Birmingham, AL on April 23-24, 2009

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