Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. Additional variables also being measured by Aqua include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures.
Aqua was launched on May 4, 2002, and has six Earth-observing instruments on board, collecting a variety of global data sets. Aqua was originally developed for a six-year design life but has now far exceeded that original goal. It continues transmitting high-quality data from four of its six instruments, AIRS, AMSU, CERES, and MODIS, and reduced quality data from a fifth instrument, AMSR-E. The sixth Aqua instrument, HSB, collected approximately nine months of high quality data but failed in February 2003.
Learn more: http://aqua.nasa.gov/
- The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument can be used to track the dispersion of SO2 and ash clouds following an explosive volcanic eruption. AIRS sulfur dioxide data are used to alert the air transportation industry about volcanic eruptions. Combined with measurements of volcanic ash, they provide a long-term record of the effects of volcanoes on the atmosphere. (https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=pia19385)
- AIRS senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth. The information is used to map such atmospheric phenomena as temperature, humidity, and cloud amounts and heights in tropical cyclones and other storm systems. (https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7492)
- The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument is used to detect water extent in support of flood response and recovery. The MODIS Near Real-Time Global Flood Mapping Project produces global daily surface and flood water maps at approximately 250 m resolution, in 10x10 degree tiles. (https://floodmap.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/)
- MODIS provides natural-color images of tropical cyclones to help track storms and analyze intensity as they move toward land. (https://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/individual.php?db_date=2018-09-09)
- MODIS is used to detect wildfires and smoke plumes in support of fire response and recovery. MODIS data helps to power the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) (https://firms.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/map/#z:3;c:0.0,0.0;d:2020-01-16..20...)