Terra Instruments

Image from TERRA
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 13:51 EST

The state of New South Wales (NSW) in south eastern Australia is continuing to experience devastating bushfires due to the dry tinder-like atmosphere in the territory: high winds, dry lightning and continuing heat.

Image from TERRA
Fri, 08 Nov 2019 09:56 EST

Smoke billows from the scores of bushfires on Australia east coast in this image captured by NASA's Terra satellite on Nov. 08, 2019, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 05 Nov 2019 19:03 EST

The Earth-observing mission ECOSTRESS reveals how the massive rainforest fires this past August spread in dry areas visible only to this specialized sensor.

MOPITT

Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere

Carbon monoxide from African fires, February 2004

Widespread fires in western Africa release carbon monoxide into the atmosphere (red) in February 2004.

Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) is an instrument designed to enhance our knowledge of the lower atmosphere and to observe how it interacts with the land and ocean biospheres. MOPITT’s specific focus is on the distribution, transport, sources, and sinks of carbon monoxide in the troposphere. Carbon monoxide, which is expelled from factories, cars, and forest fires, hinders the atmosphere’s natural ability to rid itself of harmful pollutants.

MOPITT is one of the earliest satellite sensors to use gas correlation spectroscopy. 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. 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 web site at the University of Toronto
MOPITT web site at the National Center for Atmospheric Research

MOPITT in the News