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Nimbus II MRIR

The Nimbus II was launched on may 15, 1966 on a Thrust Augmented Thor (TAT)/ Agena B vehicle. The near-circular orbit had an apogee of 1179 km and a perigee height of 1095 km with an inclination of 100.311 degrees and a nodal period of 108.17 minutes.


Three instruments were on board of the spacecraft.

  • An Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) provided clouds in the earth atmosphere and, in clear areas, terrestrial features on the earth's surface (only during day-time).

  • A Medium Resolution Infrared Radiometer (MRIR) measured the  electromagnetic radiation emitted and reflected from the earth and the atmosphere in five selected wavelengths.

  • A High Resolution Infrared Radiometer (HRIR) was available to provide earth cloud cover (nigh-time) and to measure the temperatures of cloud tops and terrain features.


 The Nimbus II Medium Resolution Infrared Radiometer (MRIR) was designed to measure electromagnetic radiation emitted and reflected from the earth and its atmosphere at 5 wavelengths.

The five wavelengths regions are as follows:

  • 6.7 to 6.9 microns- This channel covers the 6.7 micron water vapor absorption band. Its purpose is to provide information on water vapor distribution in the upper troposphere and, in conjunction with the other channels to provide relative humidities at these altitudes
  • 10 to 11 microns - microns- This channel measures surface or near surface temperatures over clear portions of the atmosphere. It also provides cloud cover and cloud height information (day and night).
  • 14 to 16 microns – This channel, centered about the strong absorption band of C02 at 15 microns, measures radiation which emanates primarily from the stratosphere.
  • 5 to 30 microns – This channel measures the emitted long wavelength infrared energy and, in conjunction with the reflected solar radiation channel furnishes data on the heat budget of the planet.
  • 0.2 to 4.0 microns – This channel covers more than 99% of the solar spectrum and yields information on the intensity of the reflected solar energy from the earth and its atmosphere.


The Nimbus II MRIR experiment data collection is from May 15, 1960 through July 28, 1960.

More information can be found in the Nimbus II MRIR README file or Nimbus II users' guide.

You may download the Nimbus II MRIR data products by selecting the "Data Holding" link on the menu bar. If you have questions on GES DISC data product support and services for the Nimbus II MRIR and related data sets, please let us know.


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Last updated: Sep 14, 2015 02:19 PM ET