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Vertical Temperature Profile Radiometer (VTPR)

The Vertical Temperature Profile Radiometer (VTPR) was an operational 8-channel sounding system mounted on the NOAA-2 through NOAA-5 satellites. The instrument made routine observations for deriving atmospheric temperature soundings from November 1972–February 1979.


VTPR is described in detail in McMillin et al. (1973). The instrument scanned perpendicular to the satellite motion from left to right facing the direction of travel in 23 discrete steps. Fields of view, scanning times, and apparent motion on the earth provide spot pixels which are contiguous both across and along the orbital track. The VTPR sounder had a horizontal resolution of 55km x 57km at the nadir and 67km x 91km at the end of scan.

Data Access

For access to VTPR sounder data, contact the NCEI Satellite Team at

File Description

Each of the VTPR files store six hours of data with the following filename format:
In which yyyy is for the four-digit year, mm for month, dd for date, and hh for UTC hour.

Related Content

The following header information shows the variables included in each file:

	ch = 8 ;
		number = UNLIMITED ;

             int satid(number) ;
                        satid:long_name = "satellite_id" ;
             int instid(number) ;
                        instid:long_name = "instrument_id" ;
             float bt(number, ch) ;
                        bt:long_name = "brightness temperature" ;
                        bt:units = "Kelvin" ;
             float lat(number) ;
                        lat:units = "degrees_north" ;
                        lat:valid_range =  -90.,  90. ;
             float lon(number) ;
                        lon:units  = "degrees_east" ;
                        lon:valid_range = -180., 180. ;
             float number(number) ;
             float zen(number );
                        zen:long_name = "zenith" ;
             float alt(number) ;
                        alt:long_name = "altitude" ;
                        alt:units = "km" ;
             int line(number) ;
                        line:long_name = "line" ;
             int posi(number) ;
                        posi:long_name = "position" ;
             int year(number) ;
             int month(number) ;
             int date(number) ;
             int hour(number) ;
             int minute(number) ;
             int second(number) ;

McMillin, L.M., D. Q. Wark, J. M. Siomkajlo, P. G. Abel, A. Werbowetzki, L. A. Lauritson, J. A. Pritchard, D. S. Crosby, H. M. Woolf, R. C. Luebbe, M. P. Weinreb, H. E. Fleming, F. E. Bittner, and C. M. Hayden, 1973: "Satellite Infrared Soundings from NOAA Spacecraft". (2.5 Mb) NOAA Technical Report NESS 65.

Shi, L. and J. J. Bates, 2006: "Vertical Temperature Profile Radiometer Brightness Temperature Dataset and its Statistics". (206 Kb) 14th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, 86th AMS Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, 30 January - 2 February 2006, American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA, P2.1 (7 p.)

Shi, L., J. J. Bates, X. Li, S. Uppala, and G. Kelly, 2008: "Extending the Satellite Sounding Archive Back in Time: the Vertical Temperature Profile Radiometer Data". Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, Vol. 2, 023506

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