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), multiple ESA Advanced
scatterometer (ASCAT) (2009+), and the Indian OSCAT scatteromaters.
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
Binary-formatted data is available by https under the "Image Data" link to the left. Most users will be interested in A-type .sir files. Software readers for the files are available under the "Software" link. The web site is organized to facilitate scripted data downloads.
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have the funding needed to keep operating.
Recent News Updates
Jun 2021. NOTE: Starting in July, the SCP ftp site will be shutdown. Thereafter all data must be obtained using https. The URL will be the same with "https:" replaced with "https:".
Jan 2021. The consolidated Antarctic Tabular Iceberg Database has been updated and is available for download.
Jan 2021. A special page on tracking iceberg A68a that includes animations and information on relatieve iceberg sizes was kept up to date active from Dec 2020 through Mar 2021 Iceberg A68a.
Jan 2020. The SCP has collaborated with NSIDC to produce the
"MEaSUREs Calibrated Enhanced-Resolution Calibrated Passive Microwave Daily EASE-Grid 2.0 Brightness Temperature (CETB) Earth System Data Record (ESDR)". This data set spans 1978-2019 with intercalibrated brightness temperature measurements from AMSR-E, SMMR, SSM/I, and SSMIS all on compatible grids. This data set superceeds the SCP's own brightness temperature image products.