The 15-year-old NASA AIRS instrument is an asset for weather forecasters and climate scientists worldwide.


Better weather forecasts save lives and property.

AIRS, launched aboard Aqua in 2002, gave weather forecasters a new kind of data.

Before AIRS, satellite instruments looked at the atmosphere in about 15 different wavelengths of light.

AIRS multiplied that to almost 2400 wavelengths and uses the multiple wavelengths to create 3D maps of air temperature, humidity and clouds.

This high-definition view improves forecasts.

AIRS sees more than just weather.

It sees emissions from volcanoes -- gases from wildfires--indicators of drought.

AIRS was the first instrument to make global maps of carbon dioxide high in the atmosphere, helping scientists see how climate change is playing out globally.

AIRS has been a game-changer for research in many fields, from observing the Antarctic ozone hole to understanding storms to measuring greenhouse gases.

Other missions have adopted its 3D mapping approach.

AIRS' legacy will continue long after the mission ends in 2022.

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