IFAORS Seminar

Remote Sensing Instrument Design: Basics and Trade-Offs

Advisor Jack S. Margolis, Ph.D. – TI/IFAORS
Director Paul D. Try, Ph.D. – Chair, TI/IFAORS
Sponsor Institute for Atmospheric Optics and Remote Sensing (IFAORS)
Held Mar. 26-27, 2008 (Edgewood, MD); Dec. 2-3, 2010 (Newport News, VA)
Downloads Click here for most recent TRS105 Flyer.


This seminar is intended to be especially useful to managers and supervisors of remote sensing programs. The level of presentation will be such that the course material will be understood both by beginners and experts who wish to understand the physics of the other disciplines that are required for instrument design. It is not intended to extend the knowledge of experts in their own discipline.

As a primer on the subject of remote sensing design, TRS105 should prove useful to managers of remote sensing programs who are required to be familiar with all aspects of the field. It is important that managers and supervisors have a broad grasp of how trade-offs in instrument design affect the information content of the observations. It will also provide an understanding of how changes in one aspect of instrument technology affect the other aspects of design. It should also prove useful to beginners in pointing out what areas of physics and chemistry are important to remote sensing instrument design.

Regarding the subject matter of the workshop, the radiative transfer in the atmosphere and the parameters of molecular absorption and scattering that affect it will be discussed. The information contained in the spectrum will be investigated, as well as how this affects the optimum design of remote sensing instruments. The application of these concepts to the design of several remote sensing instruments will also be discussed.


DAY 1 – AM

  1. Overview
  2. Physical/Chemical Structure of the Atmosphere
    a. Temperature profiles
    b. Composition profiles
    c. Radiation profiles
  3. What are the parameters that can be retrieved?
  4. Level of detail in the atmospheric spectrum; dependence on spectral resolution
  5. Where is information contained in the spectrum?
  6. Radiation and units
  7. Weighting functions
  8. Examples of contemporaneous instruments
  9. Simplified method for estimating sensitivity of retrieval; making engineering trade-offs

DAY 1 – PM

  1. Comparing thermal emission spectral region to reflected sunlight spectral region.
  2. Molecular spectroscopy a. Energy levels: vibrational and rotational b. Dependence of energy level complexity on molecular complexity c. Selection rules d. Absorption strengths e. Temperature dependence of absorption strength
  3. Combination and overtone bands
  4. Line shapes and their relevance a. Special cases: Line mixing, line narrowing, super/sub Lorentzian
  5. Continuum Absorption
  6. Collision induced absorption

DAY 2 – AM

  1. Review
  2. Non-local thermodynamic equilibrium
  3. HITRAN list
  4. FASCODE, MODTRAN, proprietary codes and constructing the model
    a. Solving the RT equation using line-by-line radiative transfer models
    b. Scattering and polarization and its applications
  5. Retrievals and inverse theory
  6. Diagnostics
  7. Sensitivity studies
  8. Observational instruments
  9. Instrumental radiometric characteristics

DAY 2 – PM

  1. Observational instruments continued
  2. Importance of Instrument Line Shape (ILS)
  3. Noise characteristics
  4. Case studies
  5. Questions and Answers Course Materials: Copies of lecture slides and expanded lecture notes will be provided on site.


Goody and Yung, Atmospheric Radiation: Theoretical Basis Liou, Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation Rodgers, Inverse Methods for Atmospheric Sounding: Theory and Practice


A Certificate of Completion for 12 hours will be provided to participants upon completion of the workshop.


Registration Fee: TBA

Early Registration: TBA

Group Discount Fee: Groups of 8 or more registered and paid through one point of contact will receive a 15% discount off the regular price per member.


DISCLAIMER: Attendance at this event is for personal growth, and entails no promise of employment.