Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Instrument Aboard NASA's Aqua Satellite Joins Twin To Begin Comprehensive Global Coverage

Date:
August 16, 2002
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
Roughly 438 miles above the Earth, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite opened its Earth-view door on June 24 and took its first look at our planet. This event, called "first light," marks a milestone in Earth observation, allowing scientists to conduct the most comprehensive daily examination of our planet by combining data from two MODIS instruments on sister satellites in Earth orbit.

Roughly 438 miles above the Earth, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite opened its Earth-view door on June 24 and took its first look at our planet. This event, called "first light," marks a milestone in Earth observation, allowing scientists to conduct the most comprehensive daily examination of our planet by combining data from two MODIS instruments on sister satellites in Earth orbit.

Related Articles


Like its twin flying aboard NASA's Terra satellite -- launched in 1999 -- Aqua MODIS sees almost the entire surface of our planet every day in 36 channels ranging from visible to thermal infrared wavelengths. On a daily basis, Terra descends across the equator at 10:30 a.m. in every time zone, while Aqua ascends across the equator at 1:30 p.m. in every time zone. The different timing of the satellites' pole-to-pole orbits enables scientists to focus on different aspects of the Earth's climate system and to see changes within the system during the course of a day.

"With the launch of Aqua," said MODIS Team Leader Vince Salomonson, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., "we are able to observe land, ocean and atmosphere phenomena in the afternoon with Aqua and in the morning with Terra. This is especially important for observing rapid, time-varying phenomena like clouds and water vapor."

Understanding the processes of water evaporation, the movements of water vapor (the dominant greenhouse gas) throughout the atmosphere -- and the relationship of these processes to cloud formation -- is essential to climate and local weather modeling.

In its first day of operations, Aqua MODIS observed significant Earth events occurring all over the globe. Even as Super Typhoon Chataan was rapidly approaching Japan, there was severe flooding in southeast Texas, and a vast, thick pall of smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed almost the entire U.S. East Coast. MODIS collected and beamed to Earth these images in very-near real time.

Data from Aqua MODIS will augment scientists' ability to track wind and clouds in the polar regions where current weather satellites can't see, helping meteorologists to better monitor and predict global weather patterns.

Aqua MODIS will also dramatically improve scientists' ability to monitor the daily (diurnal) cycles of the large-scale burning of plant biomass in regions all across the planet. "Aqua MODIS will complement Terra, providing four observations per day that will better sample the daily cycle of fire activity and provide increased opportunity of cloud-free observations," said Chris Justice, the MODIS Land Team Leader at the University of Maryland, College Park. Using Aqua MODIS, scientists can gather more data on how fast and in which direction fires are spreading, as well as how severely a given fire may affect air quality of downwind urban areas.

Aqua MODIS data have worldwide applications. The MODIS team is working with the Global Observation of Forest Cover/Gold-Fire Program and the World Fire Monitoring Center to provide fire data to the international community. Team members collaborate with fire monitoring groups in Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia.

Having a second MODIS instrument will also improve ocean-based research. "Aqua will provide continuity of important observations of sea surface temperature and ocean color, which is a marker of the biochemistry of marine organisms," Salomonson added.

Aqua and Terra each carry a MODIS instrument designed to gather planetary data across 36 spectral bands. Data will be processed into 44 distinct data products available to the world for use in tracking global climate change.

The satellites are part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort to understand and protect our home planet. Through the study of the Earth, NASA will help provide sound science to policy and economic decision-makers to improve life here, while developing the technologies needed to explore the universe and search for life beyond our home planet.

For more information and images, see:

http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020815aquafirst.html

For the more on the MODIS Instrument, go to:

http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Instrument Aboard NASA's Aqua Satellite Joins Twin To Begin Comprehensive Global Coverage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020816071812.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2002, August 16). Instrument Aboard NASA's Aqua Satellite Joins Twin To Begin Comprehensive Global Coverage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020816071812.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Instrument Aboard NASA's Aqua Satellite Joins Twin To Begin Comprehensive Global Coverage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020816071812.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins