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NASA Weather “Eye in the Sky” Marks 10 Years

NASA Weather “Eye in the Sky” Marks 10 Years

May 8, 2012
Global map showing dioxide carbone concentration (NASA/JPL)

Large-scale AIRS data shows dark blue corresponds to a dioxide carbone concentration of 382 parts per million and dark red corresponds to a concentration of almost 390 parts per million.

For 10 years, it has silently swooped through space in its orbital perch 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 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 the planet’s atmospheric temperature, water vapor, clouds and greenhouse gases with unprecedented accuracy and stability for the world's scientists. Over the past decade, AIRS and AMSU-A have improved scientists’ 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.
The image above uses AIRS data to show large-scale patterns of carbon dioxide concentrations that are transported around Earth by the general circulation of the atmosphere. Dark blue corresponds to a concentration of 382 parts per million and dark red corresponds to a concentration of almost 390 parts per million.
For more on AIRS and its work, see the NASA press release.http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-125

AIRS 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 the planet’s atmospheric temperature, water vapor, clouds and greenhouse gases with unprecedented accuracy and stability for the world's scientists. Over the past decade, AIRS and AMSU-A have improved scientists’ 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.

The image above uses AIRS data to show large-scale patterns of carbon dioxide concentrations that are transported around Earth by the general circulation of the atmosphere. Dark blue corresponds to a concentration of 382 parts per million and dark red corresponds to a concentration of almost 390 parts per million.

For more on AIRS and its work, see the NASA press release.