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warn_icon.gif IMPORTANT MESSAGE Sep 29, 2016    Aqua AMSU-A2 and AIRS instrument anomalies   

The AIRS instrument was returned to service at 21:02 UT on Sept 27.  AIRS and AMSU radiances (A1 channels only) are being produced and being made available through the GES DISC servers.

The AMSU A2 instrument is still in survival mode.  The lack of data from AMSU Channels 1 and 2 is negatively impacting the Level 2 retrievals.  Consequentially, we have suspended production of the AIRS+AMSU Level 2 products (AIRI2CCF.006, AIRX2RET.006 and AIRX2SUP.006) for the near future until a solution can be put into place. This suspension also applies to the AIRS+AMSU Level 3 products.

GES DISC is continuing to produce the AIRS-only Level 2 and Level 3 products (AIRS2RET.006, AIRS2SUP.006, AIRS2CCF.006, AIRS3STD.006, etc.).



There were two separate Aqua AIRS instrument anomalies over the weekend:

 1) At approximately 19:47 UT on September 24 the AMSU-A2 instrument turned off.  The A1 instrument continued and does continue to collect science data; that data is being made available at GES DISC now.  It is expected that the A2 instrument will be taken through it's start up procedure in the near term.

 2) At approximately 03:25 UT on September 25, the AIRS instrument's cooler and focal plane temperatures began to rise.  The AIRS instrument was commanded out of its SCIENCE operating mode at 15:47 UT on September 25, and is still in that mode as of this message.  Data processing of AIRS L1B products ceased once the instrument was taken out of SCIENCE mode.  However, data was still produced over the interval 03:25 - 15:47 UT.  Users that may have accessed that data should not use, as it is invalid.

Further status will be communicated as information becomes available.


The AIRS/AMSU/HSB suite of instruments is flying on board of Aqua satellite, and thus their "overpass" pattern is this of Aqua.

The  AIRS/AMSU/HSB suite constitutes an innovative atmospheric sounding system of infrared, microwave and visible sensors. The infrared radiance data product is stable to 10 mK/yr and accurate to better than 200 mK. This product is the most accurate and stable set of hyperspectral infrared radiance spectra measurements made in space to date, and it meets the criteria identified by the National Research Council for climate data records. The geophysical products provide daily global temperature profiles at an accuracy of 1 K per 1 km thick layer in the troposphere and moisture profiles at an accuracy of 20% per 2 km thick layer in the lower troposphere (20% - 60% in the upper troposphere). With the Version 5 release the Level-2 and Level-3 products also include the burden and profiles of the minor gases: O3 (Level-2 only), CO and CH4.

The accuracy of the temperature and humidity profiles derived from AIRS/AMSU/HSB is recognized as improving forecasts from meteorological prediction models. NOAA administrator Lautenbacher has reported that "the AIRS instrument has provided the most significant increase in forecast improvement in this time range of any other single instrument." Currently researchers are using AIRS data products to validate climate models and to test their representations of critical climate feedbacks.

The AIRS Data Support at the GES DISC DAAC provides science and data support to assist others in understanding, ordering, and using the AIRS/AMSU/HSB data products.

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Got a Question, AskAIRS

Got a question for which there is no ready answer in the AIRS documentation? Post it at AskAIRS site and the AIRS Project will endeavor to provide the answer.


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Last updated: Mar 22, 2016 12:36 PM ET