THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
Measurements > Land >
Surface temperature (land) >
Land surface temperature


Measurement Definition*: Temperature of the apparent surface of land (bare soil or vegetation) - Physical unit: [ K ] - Accuracy unit: [ K ].

Thematic Links
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.n/a
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.n/a
AGRI
Advanced Geosynchronous Radiation Imager
Operational
A multiple channel radiation imager, one of the primary instruments aboard FY-4. Technically featured by a precisely designed two-mirror structure, capable of accurate and flexible sensing in two dimensions, and minute-level fast sector scanning. Frequent Earth imaging over 14 bands with off-axis three reflections of the primary optic system. On-board black body available for IR calibrations at very short time intervals.n/a
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
AMSU-A
Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A
Operational
All-weather night-day temperature sounding to an altitude of 45 km.n/a
AMSU-A
Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A
Operational
All-weather night-day temperature sounding to an altitude of 45 km. AMSU-A on Aqua is still partially operational, with 9 of the 15 channels working and collecting data.n/a
ASTER
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer
Operational
Surface and cloud imaging with high spatial resolution, stereoscopic observation of local topography, cloud heights, volcanic plumes, and generation of local surface digital elevation maps. Surface temperature and emissivity. ASTER SWIR detectors are no longer functioning due to anomalously high SWIR detector temperatures. ASTER SWIR data acquired since April 2008 are not useable, and show saturation of values and severe striping. All attempts to bring the SWIR bands back to life have failed, and no further action is envisioned.n/a
ATMS
Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder
Operational
Collects microwave radiance data that when combined with the CrIS data will permit calculation of atmospheric temperature and water vapour profiles.n/a
AVHRR/3
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer/3
Operational
Measurements of land and sea surface temperature, cloud cover, snow and ice cover, soil moisture and vegetation indices. Data also used for volcanic eruption monitoring.n/a
CIRC
Compact InfraRed Camera
Operational
Active fire detection. Land surface temperature.n/a
ETM+
Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus
Operational
Measures surface radiance and emittance, land cover state, and change (e.g., vegetation type). Used as multi-purpose imagery for land applications.n/a
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.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
HyperScout-2
Hyperspectral VNIR and multispectral TIR imager
Operational
Demonstration of hyperspectral and thermal imaging on a 6U Cubesat. Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence accelerator. Cloud screening in-orbit will be the first AI application. Other applications are: high resolution by data fusion between hyperspectral and thermal; evapotranspiration and agriculture applications; thermal inertia and soil moisture; Urban Heat Island; assisting search and rescue for pyroclastic flow/surge deposits; oil spills; fire monitoring, underground fires; and, water quality.n/a
IASI
Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer
Operational
Measures tropospheric moisture and temperature, column integrated contents of ozone, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other minor gases which affect tropospheric chemistry. Also measures sea surface and land temperature.Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
IKFS-2
IR-Fourier spectrometer
Operational
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
Imager
Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, atmospheric radiance, winds, atmospheric stability, rainfall estimates. Used to provide severe storm warnings/ monitoring day and night (type, amount, storm features).n/a
Imager (INSAT 3D)
Very High Resolution Radiometer
Operational
Cloud cover, severe storm warnings/monitoring day and night (type, amount, storm features), atmospheric radiance winds, atmospheric stability rainfall.n/a
IRAS
InfraRed Atmospheric Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric sounding for weather forecasting.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
IRS
Infrared scanner
Operational
Earth resources, environmental monitoring, land use.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.n/a
MSU-GS/VE
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Operational metrology, hydrology, climate monitoring and environmental monitoringn/a
MSU-IK-SR
Multi-channel medium and far IR range radiometer
Operational
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
MSU-MR
Low-resolution multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
MTVZA-GY
Scanning microwave imager-sounder
Operational
Atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles, precipitation, sea-level wind speed, snow/ice coverage.n/a
MWRI
Micro-Wave Radiation Imager
Operational
All weather observations of precipitation, cloud features, vegetation, soil moisture sea ice, etc.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
MWTS-1
Micro-Wave Temperature Sounder
Operational
Temperature sounding in nearly all weather conditions.n/a
PHyTIR
Prototype HyspIRI Thermal Infrared Radiometer (PHyTIR)
Operational
+/-1
This project will use a high-resolution thermal infrared radiometer to measure plant evapotranspiration, the loss of water from growing leaves and evaporation from the soil.n/a
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.n/a
SGLI
Second-generation Global Imager
Operational
+/-2.5
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
SLSTR
Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer
Operational
Marine and land services.n/a
Sounder
Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric soundings and data on atmospheric stability and thermal gradient winds.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
TIRS
Thermal Infrared Sensor
Operational
Measures longwave thermal infrared surface emittance, land cover state, and change. Used as multipurpose imagery for land applications.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
TIRS-2
Thermal Infrared Sensor 2
Operational
Measures longwave thermal infrared surface emittance, land cover state, and change. Used as multipurpose imagery for land applications. TIRS-2 will adhere to the Landsat 8 TIRS instrument performance specifications but will be built to NASA Class-B instrument standards (including a 5-year design life).Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
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.n/a
VIRR
Multispectral Visible and Infra-red Scan Radiometer (10 channels)
Operational
Multispectral Visible and Infra-red Scan Radiometer.n/a
VISSR-2
Stretched Visible and Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer-2
Operational
Meteorological.n/a
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.n/a
METimage
Multi Spectral Imager
Being developed
Operational multi spectral imager for meteorological EPS-SG VIS/IR Imaging Mission (VII): imagery data for global and regional NWP, NWC, and climate monitoringn/a
MVIRS
Moderate Resolution Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectroradiometer
Approved
Measures surface temperature and cloud and ice cover. Used for snow and flood monitoring and surface temperature.n/a
Advanced MSU-MR
Advanced Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Proposed
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
IKFS-3
Advanced Fourier spectrometer
Proposed
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
MTVZA-GY-MP
Advanced Scanning microwave imager-sounder
Proposed
Atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles, precipitation, sea-level wind speed, snow/ice coverage.n/a
TIR
Thermal Infra Red
Proposed
 Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
MI
Meteorological Imager
No longer 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. Ceased operations from 1 April 2020.n/a
TES
Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer
No longer operational
3D profiles on a global scale of all infra-red active species from surface to lower stratosphere. Measures greenhouse gas concentrations, tropospheric ozone, acid rain precursors, gas exchange leading to stratospheric ozone depletion.n/a
* Description adapted from WMO.
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