Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership - Suomi NPP.

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) is a joint mission to extend key measurements in support of long-term monitoring of climate trends and of global biological productivity. It extends the measurement series begun with the highly successful Earth Observation Satellites, Terra and Aqua, launched 1999 and 2002, respectively, and provides a bridge between NASA's EOS missions and NOAA’s planned Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). The Suomi NPP mission will provide access to the next generation of operational sensors, thereby  reducing the risks incurred during the transition. This will permit testing of the advanced ground operations facilities and validation of sensors and algorithms while the current operational systems are still in place. This new system will provide nearly an order of magnitude more data than the current operational system.  The first NPP satellite will be launched October 2011.

Suomi NPP Instrument Overview

The Suomi NPP satellites will carry the following instruments: Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS). These sensors will collect data on atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity soundings, land and ocean biological productivity, and cloud and aerosol properties. This data will be used for long-term climate and global change studies.

Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
The Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) collects visible/infrared imagery and radiometric data. Data types include atmospheric, clouds, earth radiation budget, clear-air land/water surfaces, sea surface temperature, ocean color, and low light visible imagery. The instrument contributes to 23 Environmental Data Records (EDRs) and is the primary instrument for 18 EDRs.
VIIRS combines the radiometric accuracy of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) currently flown on the NOAA polar orbiters with the high spatial resolution (0.65 kilometer) of the Operational Linescan System (OLS) flown on DMSP. The VIIRS will provide imagery of clouds under sunlit conditions in about a dozen visible channels (or frequency bands), as well as provide coverage in a number of infrared channels for night and day cloud imaging applications.
VIIRS will have multichannel imaging capabilities to support the acquisition of high resolution atmospheric imagery and generation of a variety of applied products including: visible and infrared imaging of hurricanes and detection of fires, smoke, and atmospheric aerosols. VIIRS will also provide capabilities to produce higher resolution and more accurate measurements of sea surface temperature than currently available from the heritage AVHRR instrument on POES, as well as an operational capability for ocean color observations and a variety of derived ocean color products.
Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS)

The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) provides multi-spectral measurements of the temperature and moisture profiles in the atmosphere which will be useful in advanced numerical weather prediction models to improve both global and regional predictions of weather patterns, storm tracks, and precipitation. The current High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) instrument on POES provides about 20 infrared channels of information and is able to characterize atmospheric temperature profiles to an accuracy of 2 to 3 degrees Kelvin. The CrIS will provide over one thousand spectral channels of information at an improved horizontal spatial resolution and will be able to measure temperature profiles with improved vertical resolution to an accuracy approaching one degree Kelvin.

Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) operates in conjunction with the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) to profile atmospheric temperature and moisture. The ATMS is the next generation cross-track microwave sounder that will combine the capabilities of current generation microwave temperature sounders (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit – AMSU-A) and microwave humidity sounders (AMSU-B/MHS) that are flying on NOAA’s Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). The ATMS draws its heritage directly from AMSU-A/B, but with reduced volume, mass and power. The ATMS has 22 microwave channels to provide temperature and moisture sounding capabilities. Sounding data from CrIS and ATMS will be combined to construct atmospheric temperature profiles at 1 degree K accuracy for 1 km layers in the troposphere and moisture profiles accurate to 15 percent for 2 km layers. Higher (spatial, temporal and spectral) resolution and more accurate sounding data from CrIS and ATMS will support continuing advances in data assimilation systems and Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models to improve short- to medium-range weather forecasts.
Cloud and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES)

The Cloud and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) measures the reflected shortwave and Earth emitted radiances. The CERES mission data will be provided by the Flight Model 5 instrument flying on the first National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) satellite (1330 LTAN orbit). The CERES measurements seek to develop and improve weather forecast and climate models prediction, to provide measurements of the space and time distribution of the Earth’s Radiation Budget (ERB) components, and to develop a quantitative understanding of the links between the ERB and the properties of the atmosphere and surface that define that budget. CERES consists of three broadband radiometers that scan the earth from limb to limb. The three spectral channels cover the spectral regions of 0.3 to > 50 µm (total radiation channel), 8 µm to 12 µm (atmospheric window channel) and 0.3 µm to 5 µm (shortwave channel). The legacy to CERES builds on the highly successful ERBE (Earth Radiation Budget Experiment) Scanners.

Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)

The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) monitors ozone from space. OMPS will collect total column and vertical profile ozone data and continue the daily global data produced by the current ozone monitoring systems, the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet radiometer (SBUV)/2 and Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), but with higher fidelity. The collection of this data contributes to fulfilling the U.S. treaty obligation to monitor the ozone depletion for the Montreal Protocol to ensure no gaps on ozone coverage.
The nadir sensor uses a wide field-of-view push-broom telescope to feed two separate spectrometers. The nadir total column spectrometer (mapper) measures the scene radiance between 300 and 380 nanometers (nm) with a resolution of 1 nm sampled at 0.42 nm and a 24-hour ground revisit time. Measurements from this spectrometer are used to generate

The limb sensor measures the along-track limb scattered solar radiance with 1 km vertical sampling in the spectral range of 290 to 1000 nm. Three vertical slits sample the limb at 250 km cross-track intervals to provide for better than 7-day ground revisit times. The three slits are imaged onto a single charge-coupled device (CCD) (identical to both nadir CCDs).

OMPS Mission Products
  • High performance Total Column environmental data records (EDR)
  • Heritage TOMS V7 Total Column EDRs
  • High performance Ozone Profile EDRs
  • Heritage SBUV V6 Nadir Profile data records
  • IR Total Column data records from Cross-track Infra-red Sounder (CRIS) radiances

Spectral Range

Nadir mapper
Nadir profiler
Limb profiler

300 — 380 nm
250 — 310 nm
290 — 1000 nm

Spectral Sampling Interval

Nadir mapper
Nadir profiler

profiler 2.4 pixels per FWHM
2.4 pixels per FWHM
2.0 pixels per FWHM (Full Width Half Maximum)

Spectral Resolution (FWHM)

Nadir mapper
Nadir profiler
Limb profiler

1.0 nm
1.0 nm
1.5 — 40 nm

Field-of-View (FOV)

Nadir mapper
Nadir profiler
Limb profiler

110 x 0.3 deg
16.7 x 0.3 deg
8.5 x 2.7 deg (3 slits)

Revisit time

Nadir mapper
Nadir profiler

24 hours
4 days (average)

Data rate

63 kg
60 W
180 kbps
35 x 54 x 56 cm

Total Column EDR

Horizontal Cell Size:
Measurement Range:
Long-term Stability:

50 km at nadir
50-650 Dobson Units (DU)
15 DU or better
3 DU + 0.5% or better
1% over 7 years

Ozone Profile EDR

Vertical Coverage:
Vertical Cell Size:
Horiz. Cell Size:
Measurement Range:
Long-term Stability:

Tropopause — 60 km
3 km
250 km
0.1 — 16 ppmv
10% (15 — 60 km) 20% (Trop — 15 km)
3% (15 — 50 km) 10% (Trop — 15km, 50-60km)
2% over 7 years

In addition to providing operational ozone data products, OMPS has the potential to provide other surface and atmospheric science data, including anthropogenic trace gases.


The most recent global NPP operational products are now available in daily tar files for quick and easy downloads at  Please see the NPP Server Help Page for instructions.