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These infrared, microwave, and visible images were created with data retrieved by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. Infrared Image Because infrared radiation does not penetrate through clouds, AIRS infrared images show either the temperature of the cloud tops or the surface of the Earth in cloud-free regions. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of the storm. In cloud-free areas the AIRS instrument will receive the infrared radiation from the surface of the Earth, resulting in the warmest temperatures (orange/red). Microwave Image AIRS data used to create the microwave images come from the microwave radiation emitted by Earth's atmosphere which is then received by the instrument. It shows where the heaviest rainfall is taking place (in blue) in the storm. Blue areas outside of the storm, where there are either some clouds or no clouds, indicate where the sea surface shines through. Vis/NIR Image The AIRS instrument suite contains a sensor that captures light in the visible/near-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. These "visible" images are similar to a snapshot taken with your camera. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Experiment, with its visible, infrared, and microwave detectors, provides a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather. Working in tandem, the three instruments can make simultaneous observations all the way down to the Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, 3-D map of atmospheric temperature and humidity and provides information on clouds, greenhouse gases, and many other atmospheric phenomena. The AIRS Infrared Sounder Experiment flies onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
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