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The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor is carried on the Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES), a constellation of polar orbiting satellites.

Date of LaunchBetween 1979 (NOAA-06) and 2009 (NOAA-19)
Orbit Height804 - 870 km (depending on the satellite)
Orbit TypeSun-synchronous circular, PM orbit
Repeat CycleDaily

NOAA AVHRR is part of ESA's Third Party Missions Programme, in which ESA has an agreement with NOAA to distribute data products from the mission.

NOAA POES Objectives

The NOAA POES AVHRR's objectives include providing data for weather forecasting and vegetation studies. The data supports many applications, including the following:

  • Aerosols
  • Albedo and reflectance
  • Cloud type, amount and cloud top temperature
  • Liquid water and precipitation rate
  • Multi-purpose imagery (land and ocean)
  • Radiation budget
  • Sea ice cover, edge and thickness
  • Snow cover, edge and depth
  • Surface temperature (land and ocean)
  • Vegetation

NOAA POES Instruments

The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) is a broad-band, four or five channel (depending on the model) scanner, sensing in the visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This sensor is carried on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES).

Download details of the spectral bands used on each of the three AVHRR instruments on the POES satellites.

Swath Width3000 km
Resolution1 km



AVHRR is one of the few instruments with a sufficiently long operational history allowing to support climatological studies requiring data series longer than 30 years.

ESA has carried out an extensive activity to produce a unique AVHRR L1B Master Dataset over Europe with the data of the NOAA 06 to 19 satellites during the period of 1 January 1981 to 31 December 2020, which were contributed by different stakeholders (i.e. ESA, University of Dundee, University of Bern) to reduce the time gaps of the data collection. Later this dataset has been integrated with the data acquired in the frame of the AVHRR 1KM project carried out as international cooperation activity in the 90’s.

The whole AVHRR Master Dataset has been processed with the same processor and the quality of each frame has been checked so that the homogeneity and quality of products is ensured. The dataset is composed of two main parts:

  • European region coverage from 1981 to 2020 (including the “AVHRR 1KM project” data over Europe)
  • Non-European region coverage from 1989 to 1997 (“AVHRR 1KM project” data outside Europe)

Each AVHRR product has been processed and packaged in the EO-SIP package format with all included meta-files, quality indicators and quicklooks to facilitate readability and usage.

Read more about the AVHRR collection: