Optical multi-spectral instruments used to image the atmosphere and Earth's land and sea surface, providing accurate spectral information at spatial resolutions of the order of 100m up to several kilometres, with a swath width generally in the range of several hundred to a few thousand km.
Atmospheric constituents, land cover and temperature, and ocean colour and temperature can variously be acquired. Multi-spectral data returns additional environmental information.
When operating at Visible/IR wavelengths, multi-spectral radiometers cannot penetrate cloud or rain and hence are predominantly limited to clear weather observations. Operating at microwave wavelengths, these instruments have the advantage of cloud penetration and hence all weather capability.