Aura: A mission dedicated to the health of Earth's atmosphere


Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES)

TES is an imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer observing the thermal emission of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, night and day. TES will measure tropospheric ozone and of other gases important to tropospheric pollution. Satellite tropospheric chemical observations are difficult to make due to the presence of clouds. To overcome this problem TES was designed to observe both downward (in the nadir) and horizontally (across the limb). This observation capability provides measurements of the entire lower atmosphere, from the surface to the stratosphere. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provided the TES instrument.

The TES primary objective is to measure trace gases associated with air quality.

TES Contributions to Understanding Stratospheric Ozone

TES limb measurements extend from the Earth’s surface to the middle stratosphere, and the TES spectral range overlaps the spectral range of HIRDLS. As a result, TES’s high resolution spectra will allow scientists to make measurements of some additional stratospheric chemicals as well as improve HIRDLS measurements of chemicals common to both instruments.

TES Contributions to Understanding Air Quality

TES will measure the distribution of gases in the troposphere. TES will provide simultaneous measurements of tropospheric ozone and key gases involved in tropospheric ozone chemistry, such as nitric acid (HNO3) and carbon monoxide (CO). TES data will be used to improve regional ozone pollution models.

TES Contributions to Understanding Climate Change

TES will measure tropospheric water vapor, methane, ozone and aerosols, all of which are relevant to climate change.

Modeled ozone value mixing ration Harvard University's GEOS-CHEM model illustrates the types of global maps of tropospheric ozone that the TES instrument will observe in a single day. This image shows the GEOS-CHEM simulated ozone field at 681 millibars (about 3.1 km in altitude). The white areas are mountainous regions where the surface pressure is below 681 millibars and, therefore, TES ozone data will not be available. (Image courtesy of Daniel Jacob, Harvard University).

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