Instrument specifications and general summaries of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR), and its sister instrument, the AMSR for EOS (AMSR-E), which were developed by JAXA, are described.

Exploring our water planet


As the El Niño event affects not only the ocean environment but also the atmospheric circulation, the surface fluxes over the ocean, which dominates approximately two-thirds of the entire Earth's surface, are important for understanding the water and energy circulation. Since the heat flux from the ocean to the atmosphere is the driving force of the atmospheric circulation, we must understand the global distribution of the fluxes to improve numerical forecasting models. AMSR and AMSR-E observe the parameters necessary for determining these fluxes, such as sea surface temperature (sst) and sea surface wind speed. The most useful parameter is the sst with its frequent sampling in space and time independently of cloud existence. This was impossible with conventional infrared measurement. Extensive and homogeneous observation like this will reduce systematic errors in computing the fluxes. In addition, frequent sst measurement is also expected to be utilized operationally such as for fisheries forecasting.

( Image : Sea surface temperature observed by TRMM/TMI)