Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Review article
01 Nov 2017
Review article |  | 01 Nov 2017

A global satellite environmental data record derived from AMSR-E and AMSR2 microwave Earth observations

Jinyang Du, John S. Kimball, Lucas A. Jones, Youngwook Kim, Joseph Glassy, and Jennifer D. Watts

Abstract. Spaceborne microwave remote sensing is widely used to monitor global environmental changes for understanding hydrological, ecological, and climate processes. A new global land parameter data record (LPDR) was generated using similar calibrated, multifrequency brightness temperature (Tb) retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) and the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2). The resulting LPDR provides a long-term (June 2002–December 2015) global record of key environmental observations at a 25 km grid cell resolution, including surface fractional open water (FW) cover, atmosphere precipitable water vapor (PWV), daily maximum and minimum surface air temperatures (Tmx and Tmn), vegetation optical depth (VOD), and surface volumetric soil moisture (VSM). Global mapping of the land parameter climatology means and seasonal variability over the full-year records from AMSR-E (2003–2010) and AMSR2 (2013–2015) observation periods is consistent with characteristic global climate and vegetation patterns. Quantitative comparisons with independent observations indicated favorable LPDR performance for FW (R ≥ 0.75; RMSE  ≤  0.06), PWV (R ≥ 0.91; RMSE  ≤  4.94 mm), Tmx and Tmn (R ≥ 0.90; RMSE  ≤  3.48 °C), and VSM (0.63 ≤ R ≤ 0.84; bias-corrected RMSE  ≤  0.06 cm3 cm−3). The LPDR-derived global VOD record is also proportional to satellite-observed NDVI (GIMMS3g) seasonality (R ≥ 0.88) due to the synergy between canopy biomass structure and photosynthetic greenness. Statistical analysis shows overall LPDR consistency but with small biases between AMSR-E and AMSR2 retrievals that should be considered when evaluating long-term environmental trends. The resulting LPDR and potential updates from continuing AMSR2 operations provide for effective global monitoring of environmental parameters related to vegetation activity, terrestrial water storage, and mobility and are suitable for climate and ecosystem studies. The LPDR dataset is publicly available at<

Short summary
We developed a global land parameter data record (LPDR; 2002–2015) using satellite microwave observations. The LPDR algorithms exploit multifrequency microwave observations to derive a set of environmental variables, including surface fractional water, atmosphere precipitable water vapor, daily surface air temperatures, vegetation optical depth, and volumetric soil moisture. The resulting LPDR shows favorable accuracy and provides for the consistent monitoring of global environmental changes.