THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
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Cloud type, amount and cloud top temperature >
Cloud top height


Measurement Definition*: Height of the upper surface of the cloud - Physical unit: [ km ] - Accuracy unit: [ km ].
InstrumentStatus/
Accuracy
Instrument DescriptionMeasurement TechnologyTimeline
ABI
Advanced Baseline Imager
Operational
Detects clouds, cloud properties, water vapour, land and sea surface temperatures, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, total ozone, snow and ice cover, vegetation index.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
Advanced MI
Advanced Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AHI
Advanced Himawari Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, cloud motion, cloud height, cloud properties, water vapour, rainfalll, sea surface temperatures and Earth radiation, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, snow and ice cover.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AIRS
Atmospheric Infra-red Sounder
Operational
High spectral resolution measurement of temperature and humidity profiles in the atmosphere. Long-wave Earth surface emissivity. Cloud diagnostics. Trace gas profiles. Surface temperatures.Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
ALADIN
Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument
Operational
Global wind profiles (single line-of-sight) for an improved weather prediction.n/a
CALIOP
Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization
Operational
Two-wavelength, polarisation lidar capable of providing aerosol and cloud profiles and properties.Atmospheric lidar
EPIC
Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera
Operational
Diurnal measurements of ozone, sulfur dioxide, UV surface radiation, clouds, aerosols and vegetation.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
GOME-2
Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment - 2
Operational
Measurement of total column amounts and stratospheric and tropospheric profiles of ozone. Also amounts of H20, NO2, OClO, BrO, SO2 and HCHO.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
HIRS/4
High Resolution Infra-red Sounder/4
Operational
Atmospheric temperature profiles and data on cloud parameters, humidity soundings, water vapour, total ozone content, and surface temperatures. Same as HIRS/3, with 10 km IFOV.n/a
IRAS
InfraRed Atmospheric Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric sounding for weather forecasting.n/a
MI
Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MISR
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
Operational
Measurements of global surface albedo, aerosol and vegetation properties. Also provides multi-angle bidirectional data (1% angle-to-angle accuracy) for cloud cover and reflectances at the surface and aerosol opacities. Global and local modes.n/a
MODIS
MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
Operational
Data on biological and physical processes on the surface of the Earth and in the lower atmosphere, and on global dynamics. Surface temperatures of land and ocean, chlorophyll fluorescence, land cover measurements, cloud cover (day and night).n/a
MSU-GS
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, albedo, vegetation, convection, air mass analysis, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MSU-MR
Low-resolution multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
OLS
Operational Linescan System
Operational
Day and night cloud cover imagery.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
SEVIRI
Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
SGLI
Second-generation Global Imager
Operational
+/-2 km
Medium resolution multi-spectral imaging of land, ocean and atmosphere. SGLI-VNR is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from near-UV to NIR and forward or backward polarization observation at red and near infrared wavelengths (Push-broom scanning). SGLI-IRS is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from SWIR to TIR wavelengths (Cross-track scanning).n/a
Sounder
Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric soundings and data on atmospheric stability and thermal gradient winds.n/a
UVNS (Sentinel-5 precursor)
TROPOMI
Operational
Supporting atmospheric composition and air quality monitoring services.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
VIIRS
Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite
Operational
Global observations of land, ocean, and atmosphere parameters: cloud/weather imagery, sea-surface temperature, ocean colour, land surface vegetation indices.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
CPR (EarthCARE)
Cloud Profiling Radar (EarthCARE)
Being developed
Measurement of cloud properties, light precipitation, vertical motion.Cloud and precipitation radar
FCI
Flexible Combined Imager
Being developed
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MAIA
Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols
Being developed
+/-200 m
A pair of pushbroom spectropolarimetric cameras on a 2-axis gimbal for multiangle viewing, frequent revisits over targets, and inflight calibration. Major metropolitan areas are sampled with sub-km spatial resolution to study impacts of different types of particulate matter on human health.n/a
UVNS (Sentinel-5)
Ultra-violet Visible Near-infrared Shortwave-infrared spectrometer
Being developed
Supporting atmospheric composition and air quality monitoring services. Measurements of atmospheric trace gases, primarily O3, NO2, SO2, HCHO, CH4 and CO.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
ATLID
ATmospheric LIDar
Approved
Derivation of cloud and aerosol properties - Measurement of molecular and particle backscatter in Rayleigh, co-polar and cross-polar Mie channels.Atmospheric lidar
MSI (EarthCARE)
Multi-Spectral Imager (EarthCARE)
Approved
Observation of cloud properties and aerosol (aerosols to be confirmed).Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MSU-GS/VE
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Approved
Operational metrology, hydrology, climate monitoring and environmental monitoringMulti-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
Advanced MSU-MR
Advanced Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Proposed
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
UVN (Sentinel-4)
UV-visible- near infrared imaging spectrometer (Sentinel-4)
Proposed
Supporting atmospheric composition and air quality monitoring services.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
HiRDLS
High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder
No longer operational
Measures atmospheric temperature, concentrations of ozone, water vapour, methane, NOx, N2O, CFCs and other minor species, aerosol concentration, location of polar stratospheric clouds and cloud tops. Currently not collecting data on Aqua.n/a
* Description adapted from WMO.
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