Your weatherperson's job just got a little easier, thanks to new data now available from advanced weather instruments aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The new data are the most accurate, highest-resolution measurements ever taken from space of the infrared brightness (radiance) of Earth's atmosphere. This information can be used to make more accurate predictions of weather and climate.
The data come from microwave and infrared sounding instruments that are part of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder experiment: the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit. With its visible, infrared and microwave detectors, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder experiment provides a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather. Working in tandem, its instruments can make simultaneous observations from space all the way to Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,400 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity and provides information on clouds, greenhouse gases and many other atmospheric phenomena.