High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder

Harris’ high-resolution infrared radiation sounder (HIRS) instrument has been internationally recognized as the operational sounder for global weather data since 1978. HIRS collects global data on a daily basis for a variety of land, ocean, and atmospheric applications. In its full global coverage, the improved infrared spectral scanners detect variations in a broad range of environmental situations. The temperature and humidity information collected by HIRS helps in weather analysis and forecasting, and climate research and prediction.  

Fourth Generation HIRS

Today, the fourth generation HIRS (HIRS/4) is a 20-channel sounder that provides calibrated atmospheric profile data for assured global accuracy. The radiometric data is used to generate global temperature mapping at 40 different atmospheric profiles: temperature, ozone, cloud top height, water vapor, and sea and land surface temperature. The HIRS/4 is flying on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite (POES), satellites NOAA-N and NOAA-N Prime, and the European Space Agency's MetOp-A and MetOp-B satellites.

History of HIRS

HIRS was first carried on NIMBUS 6, which launched in 1975. Subsequent integrations include TIROS-N, launched October 1978; NOAA-7, launched June 1981; and NOAA-15, launched May 1998.