Hillger, D; Kopp, T; Lee, T; Lindsey, D; Seaman, C; Miller, S; Solbrig, J; Kidder, S; Bachmeier, S; Jasmin, T; Rink, T (2013). First-Light Imagery from Suomi NPP VIIRS. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 94(7), 1019-1029.
The Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite was launched on 28 October 2011, heralding the next generation of operational U.S. polar-orbiting satellites. It carries the Visible- Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a 22-band visible/infrared sensor that combines many of the best aspects of the NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors. VIIRS has nearly all the capabilities of MODIS, but offers a wider swath width (3,000 versus 2,330 km) and much higher spatial resolution at swath edge. VIIRS also has a day/night band (DNB) that is sensitive to very low levels of visible light at night such as those produced by moonlight reflecting off low clouds, fog, dust, ash plumes, and snow cover. In addition, VIIRS detects light emissions from cities, ships, oil flares, and lightning flashes. NPP crosses the equator at about 0130 and 1330 local time, with VIIRS covering the entire Earth twice daily. Future members of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) constellation will also carry VIIRS. This paper presents dramatic early examples of multispectral VIIRS imagery capabilities and demonstrates basic applications of that imagery for a wide range of operational users, such as for fire detection, monitoring ice break up in rivers, and visualizing dust plumes over bright surfaces. VIIRS imagery, both single and multiband, as well as the day/night band, is shown to exceed both requirements and expectations.