At 11:29 p.m. PDT on Oct. 6 (2:29 a.m. EDT on Oct. 7), NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite produced this false-color infrared image of Matthew as the storm moved up Florida's central coast. The image shows the temperature of Matthew's cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions, with the most intense thunderstorms shown in purples and blues.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, AMSU, senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations all the way down to Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about AIRS can be found at airs.jpl.nasa.gov.