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Keywords:

  • satellite remote sensing;
  • VIIRS;
  • land surface;
  • infrared;
  • visible;
  • global change research

Abstract

[1] The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument was launched in October 2011 as part of the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (S-NPP). The VIIRS instrument was designed to improve upon the capabilities of the operational Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and provide observation continuity with NASA's Earth Observing System's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Since the VIIRS first-light images were received in November 2011, NASA- and NOAA-funded scientists have been working to evaluate the instrument performance and generate land and cryosphere products to meet the needs of the NOAA operational users and the NASA science community. NOAA's focus has been on refining a suite of operational products known as Environmental Data Records (EDRs), which were developed according to project specifications under the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System. The NASA S-NPP Science Team has focused on evaluating the EDRs for science use, developing and testing additional products to meet science data needs, and providing MODIS data product continuity. This paper presents to-date findings of the NASA Science Team's evaluation of the VIIRS land and cryosphere EDRs, specifically Surface Reflectance, Land Surface Temperature, Surface Albedo, Vegetation Indices, Surface Type, Active Fires, Snow Cover, Ice Surface Temperature, and Sea Ice Characterization. The study concludes that, for MODIS data product continuity and earth system science, an enhanced suite of land and cryosphere products and associated data system capabilities are needed beyond the EDRs currently available from the VIIRS.