BroadBand Radiometers

The Broadband Radiometers (BBR) consist of modified Kipp & Zonen CM-22 pyranometers (to measure solar irradiance) and CG-4 pyrgeometers (to measure IR irradiance) (see http://www.kippzonen.com/). The modifications to make these instruments more suitable for aircraft use include new instrument housings and amplification of the signal at the sensor. The instruments are run in current-loop mode to minimize the effects of noise in long signal cables. The housing is sealed and evacuated to prevent condensation or freezing inside the instrument. Each BBR has the following properties: Field-of-view: Hemispheric Temperature Range: -65C to +80C Estimated Accuracy: 3-5% Data Rate: 10Hz

Instrument Type: 
Measurements: 
Instrument Team: 

Cloud Absorption Radiometer

CAR is a multi-wavelength scanning radiometer for determining albedo of clouds in the visible and near-infrared and measuring the angular distribution of scattered radiation and bidirectional reflectance of various surface types. It acquires imagery of cloud and Earth surface features.

For details, visit: https://car.gsfc.nasa.gov

Instrument Type: 
Measurements: 
Aircraft: 
J-31, P-3 Orion - WFF, Convair 580 NRC
Instrument Team: 

Airborne Multichannel Microwave Radiometer

The Airborne Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (AMMR) measures thermal microwave emission (in degrees Kelvin of brightness temperature) from surface and atmosphere. The up-looking radiometer at 21 and 37 GHz is a component of AMMR that was developed in the 1970's for precipitation measurements from an aircraft. The entire AMMR assembly covers a frequency range of 10-92 GHz. The 21/37 GHz unit has been flown in many types of aircraft during the past three decades in various field campaigns. It was refurbished during the year 2000 and is ready for flight again.

The fixed-beam Dicke radiometer has a beam width of about 6 degrees and is currently programmed with radiometric output every second. The temperature sensitivity is < 0.5 K, and the calibration accuracy is about ±4 K. The calibration is performed on the ground by viewing targets of known brightness (e.g., sky and absorber with known brightness temperature). The unit can be installed in one of the windows of the NASA P-3 aircraft so that it views at an angle of about 15º from zenith. Thus, it is necessary to spiral the aircraft gradually down to region below the freezing level in order to make measurements effectively. Ideally, the aircraft descends at the rate of about 1 km per 5 minutes. The system requires a bottle of N2 gas to keep the wave guides dry during the in-flight operation.

Instrument Type: 
Measurements: 
Aircraft: 
Convair 580 NRC, DC-8 - AFRC, P-3 Orion - WFF
Instrument Team: 

Two-Dimensional Electronically Scanning Thinned-Array Radiometer

2D-STAR is a dual-polarized L-band radiometer that employs aperture synthesis in two dimensions. This airborne instrument is the natural evolution of the Electronically Scanned Thinned Array Radiometer, which employs aperture synthesis only in the across-track dimension, and represents a further step in the development of aperture synthesis for remote sensing applications. 2D-STAR was successfully tested in June 2003 and, then, participated in the SMEX03 and SMEX04 soil moisture experiments.

The 2D-STAR instrument was developed as a research instrument with the flexibility to test options in the evolution of the technology as it existed in ESTAR (synthesis in one dimension, one polarization, and analog processing) to aperture synthesis in two dimensions, dual polarization, and digital processing. The 2D-STAR was designed to fly on a P-3 research aircraft (the NASA Orion P-3B), and to simplify installation, the size was chosen to be similar to that of ESTAR. Several options, such as the choice of the antenna array and number of bits in the digital processor, were made to accommodate potential research rather than efficiency of design.

Instrument Type: 
Aircraft: 
Instrument Team: 

Airborne Multi-angle SpectroPolarimeter Imager

The Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager, or MSPI, is a candidate for the multi-directional, multi-wavelength, high-accuracy polarization imager identified by the National Research Council's Earth Sciences Decadal Survey as one component of the notional Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem, or ACE, mission. NASA would fly the ACE spacecraft late in the next decade to characterize the role of aerosols in climate forcing, especially their impact on precipitation and cloud formation. Forcing is the process by which natural mechanisms or human activities alter the global energy balance and “force” the climate to change. The unresolved effects of aerosols on clouds are among the greatest uncertainties in predicting global climate change. MSPI is conceptually similar to JPL’s Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, or MISR, carried on NASA’s EOS Terra spacecraft, but with some important additions. The new camera design extends the spectral range to the ultraviolet and shortwave infrared (from 446–866 nm to 355–2130 nm), increases the image swath (from 360 km to 680 km) to achieve more rapid global coverage (from 9 days to 4 days), and adds high-accuracy polarimetry in selected spectral bands. Like MISR, a suite of MSPI cameras would view Earth at a variety of angles, with an intrinsic pixel size of a few hundred meters, which for certain channels would be averaged up to about 1 kilometer.

Instrument Type: 
Measurements: 
Aircraft: 
Instrument Team: 

Airborne Earth Science Microwave Imaging Radiometer

The Airborne Earth Science Microwave Imaging Radiometer (AESMIR) is a passive microwave airborne imager covering the 6-100 GHz bands that are essential for observing key Earth System elements such as precipitation, snow, soil moisture, ocean winds, sea ice, sea surface temperature, vegetation, etc.

AESMIR’s channels are configured to enable it to simulate various channels on multiple satellite radiometers, including AMSR-E, SSMI, SSMIS, AMSU, ATMS, TMI, GMI, ATMS, & MIS. Programmable scan modes include conical and cross-track scanning. As such, AESMIR can serve as an inter-satellite calibration tool for constellation missions (e.g., GPM) as well as for long-term multi-satellite data series (Climate Data Records).

The most unique/cutting edge feature of the instrument is its coverage of key water cycle microwave bands in a single mechanical package—making efficient & cost-effective use of limited space on research aircraft, and maximizing the possibilities for co-flying with other instruments to provide synergistic science. State-of-the-art calibration, fully-polarimetric (4-Stokes) observations, and the ability to accommodate large/heavy sensors (up to 300 kg) are other features of AESMIR. AESMIR currently flies on the NASA P-3 aircraft.

With these capabilities, AESMIR is an Earth Science facility for new microwave remote sensing discovery, pre-launch algorithm development, and post-launch Calibration/Validation activities, as well as serving as a technology risk reduction testbed for upcoming spaceborne radiometers. In the latter role, AESMIR is already supporting the GPM, Aquarius, and SMAP missions.

Instrument Type: 
Instrument Team: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Radiometer