MISR at 15: Multiple Perspectives on Our Changing Earth

Friday, 19 December 2014: 4:45 PM
David J Diner1, Thomas P Ackerman2, Amy J Braverman1, Carol J Bruegge1, Mark J Chopping3, Eugene Edmund Clothiaux4, Roger Davies5, Larry Di Girolamo6, Michael J Garay1, Veljko M Jovanovic1, Ralph A Kahn7, Olga Kalashnikova1, Yuri Knyazikhin8, Yang Liu9, Roger Marchand10, John V Martonchik1, Jan-Peter Muller11, Anne Walden Nolin12, Bernard Pinty13, Michel M Verstraete14 and Dong Liang Wu7, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, Seattle, WA, United States, (3)Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, United States, (4)Penn State, University Park, PA, United States, (5)University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, (6)University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, United States, (7)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (8)Boston University, Boston, MA, United States, (9)Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States, (10)University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, (11)University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, London, United Kingdom, (12)Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States, (13)Joint Research Center Ispra, Ispra, Italy, (14)South African National Space Agency, Hermanus, South Africa
Launched aboard NASA’s Terra satellite in December 1999, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument has opened new vistas in remote sensing of our home planet. Its 9 pushbroom cameras provide as many view angles ranging from 70 degrees forward to 70 degrees backward along Terra’s flight track, in four visible and near-infrared spectral bands. MISR’s well-calibrated, accurately co-registered, and moderately high spatial resolution radiance images have been coupled with novel data processing algorithms to mine the information content of angular reflectance anisotropy and multi-camera stereophotogrammetry, enabling new perspectives on the 3-D structure and dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere and surface in support of climate and environmental research. Beginning with “first light” in February 2000, the nearly 15-year (and counting) MISR observational record provides an unprecedented data set with applications to multiple disciplines, documenting regional, global, short-term, and long-term changes in aerosol optical depths, aerosol type, near-surface particulate pollution, spectral top-of-atmosphere and surface albedos, aerosol plume-top and cloud-top heights, height-resolved cloud fractions, atmospheric motion vectors, and the structure of vegetated and ice-covered terrains. Recent computational advances include aerosol retrievals at finer spatial resolution than previously possible, and production of near-real time tropospheric winds with a latency of less than 3 hours, making possible for the first time the assimilation of MISR data into weather forecast models. In addition, recent algorithmic and technological developments provide the means of using and acquiring multi-angular data in new ways, such as the application of optical tomography to map 3-D atmospheric structure; building smaller multi-angle instruments in the future; and extending the multi-angular imaging methodology to the ultraviolet, shortwave infrared, and polarimetric realms. Such advances promise further enhancements to the observational power of the remote sensing approaches that MISR has pioneered.