NOAA Polar Orbiter Data User's Guide

Section 1.0

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1.0 Polar Orbiter System Description

The Satellite Services Branch (SSB) of the National Climatic Data Center, under the auspices of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), has established a digital archive of data collected from the current generation of NOAA operational polar orbiting satellites. This series of satellites commenced with TIROS-N (launched in October 1978) and continued with NOAA-A (launched in June 1979 and renamed NOAA-6), NOAA-C (launched in June 1981 and renamed NOAA-7), NOAA-E (launched in March 1983 and renamed NOAA-8), NOAA-F (launched in December 1984 and renamed NOAA-9), NOAA-G (launched in September 1986 and renamed NOAA-10), NOAA-H (launched in September 1988 and renamed NOAA-11), NOAA-D (launched in May 1991 and renamed NOAA-12), NOAA-I (launched in August 1993 and renamed NOAA-13) and NOAA-J (launched in December 1994 and renamed NOAA-14). This series of satellites (TIROS-N and NOAA-6 through NOAA-14) will henceforth be referred to in this document as the TIROS-N series (Technically, TIROS-N through NOAA-D are called the TIROS-N series and NOAA-E through -N are called the TIROS ATN series or Advanced TIROS-N). This complete TIROS series will eventually include NOAA-A through -N. However, this document covers only the TIROS-N and NOAA-6 through NOAA-14 satellites.

This document and its updates can be found on the Internet at the following URL: Also, the document is available in both WordPerfect 6.1 and Postscript files for downloading through ftp at:

This section describes the characteristics of the TIROS-N series instruments, orbits, and data. Section 1.1 summarizes the instrument characteristics and general properties of the orbit. Section 1.2 contains specific information regarding the orbits, such as Brouwer mean orbital elements and how to make a "spinner". Section 1.3 contains information on the procedures for scheduling high resolution LAC (Local Area Coverage) AVHRR data over a specific area of interest. Section 1.4 provides specific information for each satellite, including operational date ranges, abnormalities, AVHRR and TOVS spectral response, HIRS/2 thermal band-correction coefficients and AVHRR central wave numbers.

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