NCDC Provides Access to Data from Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has just released data from the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), a sensor on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite mission, to the public.  ATMS is the first instrument on Suomi NPP to reach this milestone.  ATMS provides high-spatial-resolution microwave measurements of temperature and moisture in both clear and cloudy conditions and its release represents an important step in NOAA’s climate monitoring mission.  The public can access ATMS sensor data records through the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS).   CLASS is NOAA's enterprise archival system for the long term preservation, access and distribution of environmental data products.

Since 1978, microwave sounders on NOAA polar orbiting satellites have measured the temperature of broad atmospheric layers globally and under all weather conditions.  Several scientific teams have developed techniques to merge these microwave sounder data, taken by different instruments over the past three decades, to study the trends in mean atmospheric temperature, a key climate indicator.  ATMS continues these important measurements.

ATMS data will be integrated into this record via NOAA’s Climate Data Records Program.  The mission of NOAA's Climate Data Record (CDR) Program is to develop and implement a robust, sustainable, and transparent approach to producing and preserving climate records from satellite data.  Working with scientists who performed the original research, in this case John Christy and Roy Spencer from the University of Alabama-Huntsville, NOAA is transitioning these key climate algorithms into routine, operational products.  The ATMS instruments will be merged with the historic record as part of NOAA’s CDR Program to provide ongoing monitoring of the climate.

The Suomi NPP satellite serves as a bridge mission between NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and NOAA’s current operational polar-orbiting satellites and the forthcoming series of NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites.  The JPSS is a NOAA program that will also collect weather and climate data. 

Suomi NPP was launched by NASA as a NASA mission, and is managed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and will later be transferred to NOAA for operation from NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF).  NOAA provides operational support for the mission including archival of all data and products through its archives at the National Climatic, Oceanographic, and Geophysical Data Centers. NOAA will use NPP's data operationally for short and long-term weather forecasting and environmental monitoring.