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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 summary of available products is available here.

Using our data?

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

3 Apr 2013. A simple python interface to read SIR files is available under the software tab.

15 Feb 2013. After a winter power reduction cycle, QuikSCAT began spinning again for about 10 days before the bearing again got stuck! SCP image products for 29 Jan-6 Feb 2013 have been produced and posted to the SCP web/ftp site.

12 Oct 2012. A new multi-year sea ice map product is now available The method is described in A.M. Swan and D.G. Long, "Multi-Year Arctic Sea Ice Classification Using QuikSCAT", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 50, No. 9, pp. 3317-3326, 2012.

2 Oct 2012. Processing of all available AMSR-E data over its full mission has been completed and posted to the SCP site.

30 Sep 2011. A new and complete reprocessing of SSM/I F13 has been completed. The new processing is based on daily local-time-of-day and used the recalibrated version 7 of Remote Sensing Systems F13 SSM/I dataset. The old prototype SSM/I data has been deleted. AMSR-E local-time-of-day enhanced resolution images are available for 2002-2010.

6 Jan 2011. Some problems were found with QuikSCAT ascii ice edge (.ie) files were found on days of incomplete coverage. Some problems with line segmenting were also found in some files. As a result, we have replaced all QuikSCAT ascii ice edge files with improved version. Please discard old versions of these files.

4 Nov 2010. A poster-sized (png format 11 MB) QuikSCAT global image is available from the site.