Terra Instruments

Image from TERRA
Mon, 08 Jul 2019 13:00 EDT

An uprecedented belt of brown algae stretches from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico—and it’s likely here to stay. Scientists at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg's College of Marine Science used NASA satellite observations to discover and document the largest bloom of macroalgae in the world, dubbed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Bel

Image from TERRA
Thu, 27 Jun 2019 15:10 EDT

The Shovel Creek and Nugget Creek fires are located northwest and northeast of Fairbanks, respectively.

Image from TERRA
Mon, 10 Jun 2019 09:11 EDT

There are several wildfires burning in Arizona as the wildfire season in the West begins in earnest.

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 the first satellite sensor 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