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NEW Microwave Imager Climate Data Record

Image of January 1, 2012  brightness temperatures as measured by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder

January 1, 2012 brightness temperatures as measured by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder.

NCDC is announcing the release of a new Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder [SSMI(S)] Climate Data Record (CDR). Developed at Colorado State University through a grant from NOAA’s CDR Program, this CDR combines observations from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager with those from the new Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder to create a seamless and consistent long-term record of observations. The record currently extends from 1987 through the present, and it will continue to be extended as new data are collected into at least the next decade.

The Special Sensor Microwave Imager has a long history of enabling various climate applications, from allowing more accurate detection of Arctic sea ice decline to providing Information on the relationship between sea surface temperatures and precipitation. Both sensors can see through most clouds and measure what is known as “brightness temperature,” which scientists and researchers use to determine various meteorological quantities such as water vapor, surface wind speed, cloud water, and rainfall rate.

The ability of these sensors to provide this information makes the SSMI(S) CDR of great importance for global hydrologic cycle research. These CDR data are valuable in a wide range of applications including climate change detection and monitoring. The SSMI(S) CDR can also support oceanographers, meteorologists, climate modelers, and researchers as well as decision making in industry and government.

As with all operational CDRs at NCDC, the SSMI(S) CDR meets rigorous quality standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and other expert organizations to help ensure consistent, reliable, and scientifically defensible products.