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Remote Sensing

A video interview with John Gille: Damaged HIRDLS instrument still provides valuable data

Despite challenges, the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) has been able to provide unique, direct observations on the structure and composition of the atmosphere.

6 October 2008, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3200810.0001

The infrared signals emerging from the atmosphere viewed at the horizon, or limb, contain a large amount of information on the structure and composition of the atmopshere. The High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, or HIRDLS, is a 21 channel limb scanning radiometer located on NASA's EOS Aura satellite. It is the most recent and advanced instrument using this technique, providing unprecedented information on the atmosphere from eight to 50 km altitude or higher.

Unfortunately, HIRDLS was damaged during its launch, causing a large part of the optical aperture to be obstructed. This has led to a major effort to recover the information from the available corrupted signal.

John Gille describes the fundamentals of HIRDLS and how it was developed, as well as the new algorithms designed to correct the observed radiances, which fortuitously led to improved understanding of the fundamental underlying processes of the exchange of trace gases across the atmospheric boundary.

John Gille is a senior scientist and EOS program manager at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and adjoint professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His work has focused primarily on the atmospheric limb, and the unique stratospheric and mesospheric information within the limb.