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TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS)


The TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) equipped aboard NOAA's TIROS series of polar orbiting satellites consists of three instruments: the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS), the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and the Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU). The MSU and SSU have been replaced with improved instruments, the AMSU-A and AMSU-B, on the newer satellites.



schematic of a POES satellite in space
One of NOAA's polar orbiting satellites carrying the TOVS instruments.


Surface radiation received by HIRS channel 9 is suppressed by 9.7 micron ozone band absorption in the lower stratosphere such that high lower stratospheric ozone values directly result in cold HIRS channel 9 radiances. An algorithm is applied to estimate the 'total' column ozone based upon these suppressed HIRS 9.7 micron radiances.


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