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TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder

NSSDCA ID: 1988-089A-02

Mission Name: NOAA 11
Principal Investigator:


The TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) on NOAA-H consists of three instruments: the high-resolution infrared radiation sounder modification 2 (HIRS/2), the stratospheric sounding unit (SSU), and the microwave sounding unit (MSU). All three instruments are designed to determine radiances needed to calculate temperature and humidity profiles of the atmosphere from the surface to the stratosphere (approximately 1 mb). The HIRS/2 instrument has 20 channels in the following spectral intervals: channels 1 through 5, the 15-micrometer CO2 bands (15.0, 14.7, 14.5, 14.2, and 14.0 micrometers); channels 6 and 7, the 13.7 and 13.4-micrometer CO2/H2O bands; channel 8, the 11.1-micrometer window region; channel 9, the 9.7-micrometer ozone band; channels 10 through 12, the 6-micrometer water vapor bands (12.55, 7.3, and 6.7 micrometers); channels 13 and 14, the 4.57- and 4.52-micrometer N2O bands; channels 15 and 16, the 4.46- and 4.40-micrometer CO2/N2O bands; channels 17, 18 and 19, the 4.25-, 4.0- and 3.7-micrometer window bands; and channel 20, the 0.7-micrometer visible region. For NOAA-I AND -J, channel 10 and 17 operate at 12.25 and 4.13 micrometers, respectively. Resolution for all channels is 17.4 km at nadir. The HIRS/2 instrument provides data for calculations of temperature profiles from the surface to 10 mb, water vapor content at three levels of the atmosphere, and total ozone content. The second instrument, the SSU, is provided by United Kingdom. It has three channels that operate at 15.0 micrometers with three pressure-modulated cells containing CO2 to accomplish selective bandpass filtration of the sampled radiance. The third instrument, the MSU, has four channels operating in the 50- to 60-GHz oxygen band (50.31, 53.73, 54.96 and 57.95 GHz) to obtain temperature profiles which are free of cloud interference. The same experiments are flown on other spacecraft in the TIROS-N/NOAA series.

Alternate Names

  • TOVS


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Principal InvestigatorNOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service
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