Data & Products
Missions & Sensors
The MOPITT instrument is provided under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Combined with concerted modeling efforts, MOPITT helps create the first global and long-term picture of the composition of the lower atmosphere. MOPITT divides the globe into approximately 1,000,000 individual cells, or "pixels", and makes a measurement over each one every four days. Each pixel is about 22 kilometers square, small enough so that emissions from individual cities can be measured. MOPITT makes measurements of infrared radiation originating from the surface of the planet and isolate the energy being radiated from CO and CH4 molecules by using a technique called gas correlation spectroscopy. Furthermore it is also the first instrument to simultaneously monitor two important atmospheric chemical species, carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4).
MOPITT is the first satellite sensor to use gas correlation spectroscopy is a four channel correlation spectrometer with cross-track scanning. The sensor measures emitted and reflected radiance from the Earth in three spectral bands. As this light enters the sensor, it passes along two different paths through onboard containers of carbon monoxide and methane. The different paths absorb different amounts of energy, leading to small differences in the resulting signals that correlate with the presence of these gases in the atmosphere.
MOPITT's spatial resolution is 22 km at nadir and it 'sees' the Earth in swaths that are 640 km wide. Moreover, it can measure the concentrations of carbon monoxide in 5-km layers down a vertical column of atmosphere, to help scientists track the gas back to its sources.
MOPITT data processing initially occurs at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado. Scientists receive the raw instrument data on a daily basis and process the readings into distributions of carbon monoxide and methane over the surface of the planet.
The Terra Platform
Terra is a multi-national, multi-disciplinary mission involving partnerships with the aerospace agencies of Canada and Japan. Managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the mission also receives key contributions from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Langley Research Center. It is the flagship of the Earth Observing System, a series of spacecraft that represent the next landmark step in NASA's role to observe Earth from the unique vantage point of space. Focused of key measurements identified by a consensus of U.S. and international scientists, Terra enables new research into the ways that Earth's lands, oceans, air, ice, and life function as a total environmental system.
Additional information available at the Terra web site.
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