The NASA Scatterometer
Climate Record Pathfinder (SCP) is a NASA sponsored
project to develop scatterometer-based data time series
to support climate studies of the Earth's cryosphere and
biosphere. Originally developed to measure winds over
the ocean from space, scatterometer data has proved to
be very useful in a variety of studies including polar
ice and tropical vegetation. Because the scatterometer
radar signal can penetrate the surface, a scatterometer
can observe subsurface/subcanopy climate-related
The launch of Seasat, carrying a Ku-band scatterometer
(SASS), in 1978 provided a baseline against which
studies of global change can be measured. Other
missions have followed SASS, including the C-band
European Space Agency (ESA) Earth Remote Sensing (ERS)
-1 and -2 missions (1992-2001), the NASA Scatterometer
(NSCAT) mission in 1996-97, SeaWinds on QuikSCAT (1999-2000),
SeaWinds on ADEOS-II/Midori2 (2003), and the ESA Advanced
scatterometer (ASCAT) (2009+). With their rapid
global coverage, day or night and all-weather
operation, scatterometers offer a unique tool for
long-term climate studies. The goal of the SCP is to
provide scatterometer-based datasets to researchers
involved in climate studies.
The SCP datasets are based on a time series of enhanced
resolution images made from the scatterometer
backscatter (sigma0) measurements using the
Scatterometer Image Reconstruction (SIR) and SIR
w/filtering algorithms. For the highest possible spatial
resolution (as well as to ensure full coverage over the
images) multiple orbit passes are combined. For SASS,
NSCAT, ERS, and ASCAT images of sigma0 at 40 deg incidence
angle (A) in dB and the slope of sigma0 versus incidence
angle (B) in dB/deg are made. For SeaWinds and QuikSCAT
sigma0 images at the observation incidence angle are
made. In addition to these images, a number of ancillary
images and products are generated include sea ice extent
maps and sea ice motion data sets. A number of derived
products are provided. SCP images and data products are
designed to support climate studies over land and
ice. Scatterometer data sets are augmented by processed
image data from the TRMM Precipitation
Radar (TRMM-PR), SSM/I, and AMSR-E microwave radiometers.
Products can be selected from Image Data on the navigation bar to the left.
A brief summary of available products is given here.
Scatterometer Instrument Comparison
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Recent News Updates
Aug 2017. ASCAT images, for the years 2013-2017, have been reprocessed with a more acceptable SRF model.
Aug 2017. New consolidated Antarctic Tabular Database available for download. The new databases includes traditional manually-derived positions, along with computer-derived size and rotation angles.
July 2017. OSCAT-2 (SCATSAT-1) image data now available on the SCP FTP site. This data is appended to the OSCAT dataset (OceanSat-2) and is contained in the 2017 folder.
July 2017. Current Antarctic Iceberg Locations now using OSCAT-2 data in tandem with ASCAT data for near-real-time iceberg tracking.
Aug 2016. ASCAT sea ice age and sea ice extent maps posted to the SCP site based on
D.B. Lindell and D.G. Long, "Multiyear Arctic Ice Classification using ASCAT and SSMIS," Remote Sensing, Vol. 8, art. 204, doi:10.3390/rs8040294 2016.
21 Jul 2015. An ASCAT Sigma-0 browse product is now available with data for years 2007-2015.
21 Jul 2015. Updated full-mission QuikSCAT and full-mission OSCAT multi-year ice map products are available. A description of the ice age classification method can be found in
D.B. Lindell and D.G. Long, "Multiyear Arctic Sea Ice Classification Using OSCAT and QuikSCAT", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 54, No. 1, pp. 167-175, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2015.2452215, 2016.