Hyperspectral Sounders


Satellite soundings measure vertical profiles of the atmosphere, so that scientists and weather forecasters can see the temperature, humidity, and trace gas concentrations at different pressure levels/heights. Soundings are different from other visible and infrared satellite imagery, which cannot “see” through clouds and can only make one image. Research applications include short-term severe weather prediction, studying fire weather, and monitoring the long range transport of smoke.

NUCAPS and CLIMCAPS are sister algorithms that are used to convert the raw satellite signal to meaningful data. NUCAPS is primarily used for real-time processing of satellite soundings; the data are released to the public up to 30 mins after an overpass through direct broadcast. CLIMCAPS was developed to to generate a long-term data record to study the feedbacks and processes of the climate system. Spanning over 20 years, CLIMCAPS provides continuity across instruments, from AIRS to CrIS.


Supplement radiosondes with wide swaths of model-independent soundings from the NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP satellites, multiple times during the day.

Observational tool to increase situational awareness of environmental characteristics that lead to the development or dissipation of extreme weather/events

Provide a long-term record of moisture, and trace gas observations in the atmosphere.

Research and Applications

Cold air airloft

Pre-convective Environment

Fire Weather

Air Quality

Tropical Cyclones Saharan Air Layer

Hurricane Extratropical Transition

Rapid Cyclogenesis and High Winds

NASA SPoRT Background & Collaboration

The SPoRT Center was established in 2002 for transitioning unique satellite observations and research capabilities to end users to improve short term forecasting and decision support. SPoRT team members work within a research to operations/operations to research paradigm to introduce experimental products to the operational environment via active involvement of end users. Involving the end users in the process ensures the products being developed by the researchers meet the end users' needs.

NASA SPoRT research to operations / operations to research paradigm

JPSS Proving Ground and Risk Reduction Program

The JPSS Proving Ground and Risk Reduction (PGRR) program was established in 2012 and its primary objective is to develop and enhance user applications of Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 data, algorithms and products. The PGRR supports user demonstration by stimulating interactions between technical experts from the JPSS Program, university partners and key user stakeholders. The PGRR has strategically invested in multiple projects to maximize the benefits of the use of current JPSS capabilities and identify new ways of using JPSS data operationally.

CLIMCAPS work funded by NASA, grant award number 80NSSC18K0975.
NUCAPS Work funded by the NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System Proving Ground/Risk Reduction Program.