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NASA’s SMAP Mission Offers Radiometer Data

In January 2015, NASA launched the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory. SMAP was the first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of the soil moisture content.

SMAP is now on its three-year mission to "scratch" below Earth's surface to expand our understanding of a key component of the Earth system that links the water, energy and carbon cycles driving our living planet. SMAP's combined radar and radiometer instruments peer into the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of soil, through clouds and moderate vegetation cover, day and night, to produce the highest-resolution, most accurate soil moisture maps ever obtained from space.

The mission will help improve climate and weather forecasts and allow scientists to monitor droughts and better predict flooding caused by severe rainfall or snowmelt -- information that can save lives and property. In addition, since plant growth depends on the amount of water in the soil, SMAP data will allow nations to better forecast crop yields and assist in global famine early-warning systems.

All radiometer data products from NASA’s SMAP mission are now available at the National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC). SMAP combines coincident L-band radar and radiometer measurements to produce global, high-resolution soil moisture and freeze/thaw estimates.

The SMAP Science Data System (SDS) has generated the Validated version of Level-1 radiometer data and the Beta version of Level-2, -3, and -4 radiometer data. Users should be aware that the Level-2, -3, and -4 Beta data use preliminary algorithms that are still being validated and are thus subject to uncertainties.

The SMAP radiometer data products in this release include the following:

  • Level-1 telemetry and brightness temperatures
  • Level-2 and -3 soil moisture (passive only)
  • Level-4 model-derived surface and root zone soil moisture and carbon net ecosystem exchange

The SMAP radar and combined radar/radiometer data products will be released in the near future. To access data, documentation, and tools, please see the SMAP Web site at the NSIDC DAAC:

type: globe-news

News origin: GLOBE Implementation Office