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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 features.

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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Send an email to long@ee.byu.edu letting us know what you're doing. This will help ensure that we have the funding needed to keep operating.

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.