Goddard Space FLight Center, USA — VIIRS, a NASA scanning radiometer, collects visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. It extends and improves upon a series of measurements initiated by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).
VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and Earth’s albedo.
Climatologists use VIIRS data to improve our understanding of global climate change.
VIIRS and Ocean Science Accurate satellite measurements of ocean pigment concentrations and sea surface temperature (SST) were first demonstrated with the Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) and the NOAA-7 Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) launched in 1978 and 1981, respectively.
Subsequent missions like the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) have provided high quality time series of these and other properties by expanding the spectral information and calibration accuracy, and by improving the processing algorithms.
Like MODIS, VIIRS is a multi-disciplinary sensor providing data for the ocean, land, aerosol, and cloud research and operational users. VIIRS spectral coverage will allow for data products similar to those from SeaWiFS as well as SST, a standard MODIS product.
SST is an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) and, through validation with instruments traceable to NIST standards, is a Climate Data Record. Also, as with SeaWiFS and MODIS, the VIIRS scan and orbit geometries will provide global coverage every two days.
Much more online at The Goddard NASA website page: http://npp.gsfc.nasa.gov/viirs.html.
You can also download a Raytheon VIIRS fact sheet at: http://npp.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/VIIRS_DS152%20Approved%208-10-11.pdf