Researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder in US have announced that they will be building an instrument package for a US Environmental Satellite in order to help monitor global climate change in a more accurate manner.
The package will be built by CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics for the first flight of the National Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, or NPOESS.
Known as the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS), the CU-Boulder package will fly on the first flight of NPOESS in 2013 and is anticipated to fly on two subsequent NPOESS missions slated for 2015 and 2020.
TSIS consists of two instruments, including the Total Irradiance Monitor, or TIM, which measures the total light coming from the sun at all wavelengths, a fundamental quantity for determining the energy balance of the planet, according to TSIS principal investigator Peter Pilewskie of LASP.
"The second CU-Boulder instrument, the Spectral Irradiance Monitor, or SIM, will measure how the light from the sun is distributed by wavelength, which is needed to understand how it interacts with Earth's surface and atmosphere," said Pilewskie.
"The data from these instruments will help scientists differentiate between natural and human-caused climate change," he added.
The TSIS instruments will be operated remotely aboard NPOESS from the LASP Space Technology Building at the CU Research Park.
The NPOESS satellite will be about the size of a large bus, while the TSIS instruments are about the size of the engine of a bus.