BackForwardInstrument:  TM 

Instrument details
Acronym TM
Full name Thematic Mapper
Purpose High-resolution land and vegetation observation
Short description 7 channels (6 in VIS/NIR/SWIR, one in TIR) [see detailed characteristics below]
Background New development
Scanning Technique Wiskbroom; 6000 pixel/line (6 short-wave channels), 1500 pixel/line (TIR); swath 185 km
Resolution 30 m (6 short-wave channels), 120 m (TIR)
Coverage / Cycle Global coverage in 16 days, in daylight.
Mass 258 kg Power 332 W Data Rate 85 Mbps

 

Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on operational programme
Utilization Period: 1982 to 2011-11-18
Last update: 2017-03-28
Detailed characteristics
Central wavelength Spectral interval SNR or NEΔT @ specified input
Low signal High signal
0.48 µm 0.45-0.52 µm 56 @ 40 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 143 @ 143 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
0.56 µm 0.52-0.60 µm 60 @ 30 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 261 @ 291 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
0.66 µm 0.63-0.69 µm 47 @ 21.7 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 232 @ 225 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
0.83 µm 0.76-0.90 µm 41 @ 13.6 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 320 @ 214 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
1.65 µm 1.55-1.75 µm 38 @ 4.0 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 185 @ 30 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
2.20 µm 2.08-2.35 µm 25 @ 1.7 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1 172 @ 16 W m-2 sr-1 μm-1
11.45 µm 10.4-12.5 µm 0.13 K @ 300 K 0.10 K @ 320K
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Passive optical radiometer or spectrometer
  • High resolution optical imager
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Biomass
  • Fire fractional cover
  • Fraction of Absorbed PAR (FAPAR)
  • Fraction of vegetated land
  • Land cover
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Biomass4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Index only.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels. Biomass inferred from NDVI and LAI
Cloud cover3 - highInfrequent coverage.Channels in VIS, NIR, SWIR and the TIR window around 11 micrometers
Cloud optical depth4 - fairLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Cloud top temperature5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s) around 11 micrometers
Cloud type5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.Channels in VIS, NIR, SWIR and the TIR window around 11 micrometers
Earth surface albedo4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS channels
Fire fractional cover1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS and TIR channels
Fire radiative power4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s) around 11 micrometers
Fire temperature4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s) around 11 micrometers
Fraction of Absorbed PAR (FAPAR)3 - highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS channels including Red at 700 nm
Fraction of vegetated land2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Glacier cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels, screening ice from clouds
Land cover3 - highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Leaf Area Index (LAI)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS and NIR channels
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR)4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS channels, range undersampled
Sea surface temperature5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s)
Sea-ice cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.VIS, NIR (for contour enhancement), SWIR (for discrimination from clouds) and TIR channels
Short-wave cloud reflectance5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels. Unsuitable dynamic range (saturation)
Snow cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels, enabling screening snow from clouds
Soil moisture at surface4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Index only.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR, SWIR and TIR channels. Soil moisture inferred from differential brightness and thermal inertia
Soil type4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Upward short-wave irradiance at TOA5 - marginalSpectral interpolation needed.. Information on BRDF needed.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Vegetation type3 - highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Aerosol volcanic ash5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Aerosol volcanic ash (Total column)5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels