ESDS Program

Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) SIPS


The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) has operated on three satellites:

1. AMSR on JAXA's ADEOS-II spacecraft, launched Dec 14, 2002. The satellite solar panels failed Oct 25, 2003.

2. AMSR-E on NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua spacecraft, launched May 4, 2002. The instrument stopped rotating Oct 4, 2011.

3. AMSR-2 on JAXA's GCOM-W1 spacecraft, launched May 18, 2012. This instrument is currently operating.

AMSR-E measures geophysical parameters supporting several global change science and monitoring efforts, including precipitation, oceanic water vapor, cloud water, near-surface wind speed, sea surface temperature, soil moisture, snow cover, and sea ice parameters. All of these measurements are critical to understanding the Earth's climate.

AMSR-2 measures weak microwave emission from the surface and the atmosphere of the Earth. From about 700 km above the Earth, AMSR-2 provides highly accurate measurements of the intensity of microwave emission and scattering. The antenna of AMSR-2 rotates once per 1.5 seconds and obtains data over a 1450 km swath. This enables AMSR-2 to acquire a set of daytime and nighttime data with more than 99% coverage of the Earth every 2 days.

The AMSR instruments are dual-polarized, conical scanning, passive microwave radiometers. Each is placed in a near-polar orbit which allows for up to twice daily sampling of a given Earth location. A key feature of these AMSR instruments is the ability to see through clouds, thereby providing an uninterrupted view of the ocean measurements.

NASA has processed data from all of these instruments to provide the typical Remote Sensing System (RSS) microwave radiometer ocean measurement product suite consisting of: Sea Surface Temperature, Surface Wind Speeds (low and medium frequency), Atmospheric Water Vapor, Cloud Liquid Water, and Rain Rate.

The AMSR-E Level1 (L1) products are generated by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and and distributed to the SIPS-RSS for processing to level 2A (L2A) . These are then forwarded to NASA's Global Hydrometeorology Resource Center Distributed Active Archive Center (GHRC DAAC), which is jointly managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and The University of Alabama in Huntsville, for processing of level 2B (L2B) and level 3 EOS standard products. These products, metadata, and associated documentation are archived and distributed by NASA's National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC (NSIDC DAAC).

As one of NASA's Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) elements, the AMSR-2 Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS) provides L2 and L3 Near Real-Time (NRT) products. NRT processing for AMSR-2 data is conducted by the LANCE AMSR-2 SIPS at GHRC DAAC. Once processed, NRT data can be assessed through the LANCE AMSR-2 NRT Products page on the GHRC DAAC website and will be available for viewing using NASA's Worldview data visualization tool or any geographic information system (GIS) software capable of reading and visualizing data in HDF-EOS5 format. AMSR-2 standard data products designed to support scientific research is sent to NSIDC DAAC.

NSIDC DAAC is responsible for processing, managing, archiving, and distributing data related to snow and ice processes (particularly interactions among snow, ice, atmosphere, and the ocean). Research-quality AMSR-2 data dating back to July 4, 2012, is expected to be available in 2016. NSIDC DAAC also stores research-quality data from AMSR-E instrument dating from June 2002 through October 2011.

Contact Information

Evelyn Ho, NASA Official

Last Updated
Feb 3, 2022