Introduction The upcoming generation of nadir viewing satellite instruments for remote sensing of atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles will require accurate forward models for radiative transfer. This is a rather demanding task since these new instruments, such as the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS), have thousands of low-noise spectral channels throughout the infrared. Physical retrieval algorithms using these high-resolution radiances require the rapid computation of accurate radiances at the instrument spectral resolution. This is usually achieved by parameterizing effective layer transmittances at the instrument spectral resolution as a function of the temperature and constituent profile. These parameterizations, called fast-forward models, are quite complex since Beer's law is no longer valid when using non-monochromatic transmittances. Preprint submitted to JQSRT 6 December 1996 The development of the AIRS fast-forward algorithm, for ex
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