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Remote Sensing Meteorological Satellites Applied to Earth Surface Observation. Meteorological Satellites (Metsats). Coarse spatial resolution, high temporal resolution NOAA, GOES, and DMSP . 1. AVHRR. Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer 1979 –

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Remote SensingMeteorological Satellites Applied to Earth Surface Observation

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Meteorological Satellites (Metsats)

  • Coarse spatial resolution, high temporal resolution

  • NOAA, GOES, and DMSP

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  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

  • 1979 –

  • Designed as weather sensors on NOAA satellites

  • Become increasingly popular for land oriented applications

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AVHRR Orbits

  • Sun-synchronous

  • Inclination 98.9o

  • 833km altitude

  • Swath 2400km cross track

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June 26, 2000 covers European Russian eastward into Siberia.

East Coast on September 27, 1997:

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Spectral Resolution

  •   - band1: 0.58-0.68microm (red)   - band2: 0.72-1.10microm (near infrared)   - band3: 3.55-3.93microm (mid infrared- thermal)   - band4: 10.30-11.3microm (thermal)*   - band5: 11.50-12.5microm (thermal)*

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  • 10 bits, 1024 levels of brightness

  • Spatial resolution

    - 1.1km Local Area Coverage (LAC) - 4 km global Area Coverage (GAC)

  • Temporal resolution: daily                  

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  • Low cost

  • Public domain distributed by NOAA

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Vegetation Indices

  • Vegetation Index (VI):         NIR-Red

  • Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)         NDVI = (NIR-Red)/(NIR+Red)

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Vegetation Index

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  • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites

  • As part of global network of metsats 70o longitude apart around the world, domestic data available since 1975

  • Geosynchronous, altitude 36,000km

  • GOES East 75oW, GOES-West 135oW

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GOES East 75oW

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GOES-West 135oW

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  • A full disk view

  • A visible (day time) 0.55-0.70microm  4 thermal band (day and night) 3.8-12.5microm

  • 1km spatial resolution for the visible band, and 4,8,4,4km for the four thermal bands, respectively

  • Data are distributed real time

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View of South America

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  • Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

  • Data were available to civilian users since 1973

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  •  Sun-synchronous

  • 0.4-1.1microm (visible & NIR), 8-13microm (thermal)

  • A nighttime visible band, the population map,  volcanoes, oil and gas fields, and forest fires

  • 3km spatial resolution

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4. Ocean Monitoring Satellites

  • Nimbus-7, 1978 – 1986

  • Carry Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS)

  • Swath 1566km



The Gulf of Mexico

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  • 825m spatial resolution

  • 6 bands  - visible bands: phytoplankton concentration, suspended silt  - NIR: surface vegetation, land/water boundary - thermal: sea surface temperature

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Color-coded temperature maps

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5. Earth Observing System (EOS)

  • Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) formally called Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) NASA program

  •    Terra (EOS-AM), 1999    Aqua (EOS-PM), 2002

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Five Sensors on Board Terra


    - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-Radiometer


    - Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer


    - Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System

  • MISR

    - Multi-Angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer


    - Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere

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  • MODIS, a highly improved successor to AVHRR

  • Launched in 1999  

  • Greater spatial resolution, 250, 500, and 1000m

  • 36 bands between 0.62-14.385mm

  • 4096 radiometric resolution

  • 2-day interval

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  • Bands 1-2

    0.62-0.876mm, 250m, Land/clouds boundaries

  • Bands 3-7

    0.459-2.155mm, 500m, Land/cloud properties

  • Bands 8-16

    0.405-0.877mm, 1000m, Ocean color /phytoplankton/biogeochemistry

  • Bands 17-19

    0.890-0.965mm, 1000m, Atmospheric water vapor

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MODIS Bands …

  • Bands 20-23

    3.660-4.080mm, 1000m, Surface/cloud temperature

  • Bands 24-25

    4.433-4.549mm, 1000m, Atmospheric temperature

  • Band 26

    1.360-1.390mm, 1000m, Cirrus clouds

  • Bands 27-29

    6.538-8.700mm, 1000m, Water vapor

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MODIS Bands …

  • Band 30

    9.580-9.880mm, 1000m, Ozone

  • Bands 31-32

    10.780-12.270mm, 1000m, Surface/cloud temperature

  • Bands 33-36

    13.185-14.385mm, 1000m, Cloud top altitude

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A MODIS oblique view

One of the important EOS joint study programs is the Indian Ocean Experiment.

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Atmospheric appearance of aerosols, much being the result of pollution

Water vapor, even when heavy clouds are absent or dispersed

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The chlorophyll content

The fluorescent properties of the ocean, which relate to plankton content.

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  • Collaboration between US and Japan

  • Consists of three instrument systems   VNIR: visible and NIR               

    SWIR: short wave infrared   TIR: thermal infrared

  • 60km swath

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  • VNIR: visible and NIR

    G,R,NIR, NIR; 15m, 8bits               

  • SWIR: short wave infrared

    5 bands in MIR; 30m, 8bits

  • TIR: thermal infrared

    5 bands in thermal; 90m, 12bits

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Volcanoes in the Andes mountain chain of South America

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  • Complement Terra observations by providing data later in the day

  • Launched in 2002

  • Designed to obtain information of weather and ocean

  • 6 instruments on board including MODIS

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Six Sensors on Board Aqua



  • AMSR/E

    - Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS

  • AMSU

    - Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit

  • AIRS

    - Atmospheric Infrared Sounder

  • HSB

    - Humidity Sounder for Brazil

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Improved sea surface and brightness temperatures on June 2-4

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Sea surface temperature in hurricane alley. This false color composite image is made using data taken by AMSR-E on board EOS, May 2002.

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5. SeaWiFS

  • Sea-viewing Wide-Field-of-View Sensor

  • NASA contracted with Orbital Science Corp. launched on OrbView-2

  • Designed to study ocean biogeochemistry

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5. SeaWiFS

  • 8 bands between 0.402-0.885mm

  • 1.1km spatial resolution

  • 2800km swath

Chlorphyll concentrations (in red, yellow, and orange colors) on a near global scale during September, 1997.

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  • Chapter 6

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3-D atmospheric maps developed from multisensor observations such as the above three data sets. Here is the western Mediterranean (France on left and North Africa on right) with the bottom shown as a landscape image, and atmospheric layers at 8 and 12 km shown in colors with red the warmest and purples coolest.