Environmental Monitoring

Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) has extensive expertise in developing state-of-art algorithms to retrieve atmospheric and surface properties from ground- and space-based sensors.  We also support end-to-end modeling studies used in the design of sensors and measurement systems.  Working closely with radiative transfer experts at AER, our approach takes a comprehensive view, starting with advancing knowledge of radiative transfer phenomena followed by the development of appropriate modeling methods and algorithms and leading to system calibration and algorithm validation/verification.

In work spanning a wide variety of sensor types, our experts are experienced in validating retrievals against independent measurements and evaluating models and algorithms using simulations. Our test environment includes the capability for end-to-end simulation of all the processes that affect remote sensing measurements—from emission by realistic Earth scenes to antenna/channel response and system calibration. With these simulation tools we are able to evaluate the effects of sensor design decisions on the bottom-line performance of environmental retrievals.

Remote Sensing Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Our radiative transfer modeling and retrieval approaches are consistent across the full electromagnetic spectrum, providing a foundation for a uniform approach to remote sensing, applicable to individual sensors and required by multi-spectral data fusion. Our scientists developed and continue to validate AER's Optimal Spectral Sampling (OSS) model.

Our remote sensing experts develop state-of-the-art algorithms to support end-to-end modeling studies used in the design of sensors to measure the distribution of trace gases in the atmosphere. These data provide key information for the characterization of air pollution and atmospheric change on a global scale. Much of our work also leverages AER’s chemical modeling expertise to provide realistic profiles of atmospheric composition and to build our overall understanding of the needs of the data user community through use of satellite and aircraft sensor data in other geophysical models.

Infrared Remote Sensing - AER has extensive expertise in retrieving atmospheric and surface properties from infrared sensors, with a special focus on the development of geophysical parameter algorithms and ultra-fast radiative transfer models for various sensor-specific applications.

Microwave Remote Sensing - Our experts develop algorithms to retrieve a broad range of environmental variables, from soil moisture to cirrus cloud properties to mesospheric temperatures. While the microwave spectrum is central to this work, data from infrared sensors and numerical weather prediction systems also play an integral part in our algorithms and analyses.

Key Environmental Monitoring Remote Sensing Projects

  • Monitor global land surface emissivities and temperatures from combined measurements from Terra and Aqua satellites (2005-present)
  • Key member of GOES-R ground-system team (2009-present)
  • Help develop algorithms for retrieval of atmospheric chemical species from Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (1990-present)
  • Develop satellite-based cloud analysis and forecasting system for the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) (1996-present)
  • Developed geophysical parameter retrieval algorithms for next generation polar orbiting satellites
    • Cross-Track Infrared Sounder Suite (NPOESS-CrIMSS), 1997-Present
    • Conically-scanned Microwave Imager Sounder (NPOESS-CMIS), 1997-2006
    • Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (NPOESS-OMPS), 1997-2002

To learn more about AER's Remote Sensing expertise, please contact us.