„Fifteen years later, AIRS continues to be a valuable asset for forecasters worldwide, sending 7 billion observations streaming into forecasting centers every day.
Besides contributing to better forecasts, AIRS maps greenhouse gases, tracks volcanic emissions and smoke from wildfires, measures noxious compounds like ammonia, and indicates regions that may be heading for a drought.
Have you been wondering how the ozone hole over Antarctica is healing? AIRS observes that too.
These benefits come because AIRS sees many more wavelengths of infrared radiation in the atmosphere, and makes vastly more observations per day, than the observing systems that were previously available. Before AIRS launched, weather balloons provided the most significant weather observations.
Previous infrared satellite instruments observed using about two dozen broad “channels” that averaged many wavelengths together. This reduced their ability to detect important vertical structure. Traditional weather balloons produce only a few thousand soundings (atmospheric vertical profiles) of temperature…
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