BackForwardInstrument:  SSH 

Instrument details
Acronym SSH
Full name Special Sensor H (also known as Multichannel Filter Radiometer)
Purpose To make temperature and water vapour soundings of the atmosphere.
Short description An infrared radiometer with 16 channels from 354 to 1020 cm-1 (28.2um to 9.8um) covering the Mid-IR to Far-IR. See table below for channel list. There is no official documentation on the channel central frequencies in the table so they should be treated with caution.
Background A new research instrument.
Scanning Technique A nadir viewing cross-track scanner.
Resolution Field of view 39 km.
Coverage / Cycle 25 measurements along a 2000km swath.
Mass 13 kg Power 8 W Data Rate


Providing Agency DoD
Instrument Maturity Flown on operational programme
Utilization Period: 1976 to 1980
Last update: 2023-03-27
Detailed characteristics
Channel number Nominal channel central wavenumber (cm-1)
1 354 
2 356
3 373
4 398
5 410
6 418
7 442
8 534
9 669
10 678
11 694
12 708
13 726
14 747
15 839
16 1020
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Passive optical radiometer or spectrometer
  • Cross-nadir infrared sounder, possibly including VIS channels
WIGOS Subcomponents No WIGOS subcomponents have been defined.
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Atmospheric temperature
  • O3
  • Specific humidity
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Atmospheric temperature*3 - highCloud sensitive.. Coarse vertical resolution.. Inaccurate in low troposphere.Many TIR channels in the 15 micrometer band
Cloud cover5 - marginalDiscontinuous coverage.TIR channel(s)
Cloud top height3 - highDiscontinuous coverage.TIR channels in window and in CO2 band for atmospheric column above cloud top
Cloud top temperature5 - marginalDiscontinuous coverage.TIR window channel(s)
O3 Total Column5 - marginalCloud sensitive.TIR channel(s). Ozone lines in band around 9.7 micrometers
Sea surface temperature5 - marginalCloud sensitive.TIR window channel(s)
Specific humidity*4 - fairCloud sensitive.. High troposphere only.FIR channels in the water vapour rotational band around 18 micrometers
Integrated Water Vapour (IWV)3 - highCloud sensitive.TIR and FIR channels from the 11 micrometers window into the 18 micrometers water vapour rotational band
Upward long-wave irradiance at TOA5 - marginalSpectral interpolation needed.TIR and FIR channels in the 11 micrometers window, and in water vapour and CO2 bands around 6.3, 15 and 18 micrometers