The AVHRR is a radiation-detection imager that can be used for remotely determining cloud cover and the surface temperature. Note that the term surface can mean the surface of the Earth, the upper surfaces of clouds, or the surface of a body of water. This scanning radiometer uses 6 detectors that collect different bands of radiation wavelengths.
The first AVHRR was a 4-channel radiometer, first carried on TIROS-N (launched October 1978). This was subsequently improved to a 5-channel instrument (AVHRR/2) that was initially carried on NOAA-7 (launched June 1981). The latest instrument version is AVHRR/3, with 6 channels, first carried on NOAA-15 launched in May 1998.
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