About AMSR  › Exploring our water planet › Cryosphere
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


Since the effects of global warming due to increased greenhouse gases are considered to appear prominently in cryospheric variations in polar regions, continuous observation of sea ice and ice sheet is very important. Although sea ice distribution over the Antarctic Ocean exhibits a large seasonal variation, it covers a vast area ranging from 3.5 million square meters even in summertime to 20 million square meters in wintertime. 
Sea ice covers most of the Arctic Ocean, and its variation controls heat fluxes and ocean circulation. AMSR and AMSR-E can continuously observe large-scale sea ice distributions and their variations. Due to the severe environment, satellite measurement is virtually the only method for extensive and continuous observation of polar regions. Since the microwave technique does not depend on sunlight, it has the advantage of being able to observe the polar regions through long polar nights and heavy cloud cover. In boreal seas such as the Arctic sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, a potential data application is to find proper shipping routes by predicting the ice condition. For this kind of application, the higher spatial resolution of AMSR and AMSR-E would be very useful.

(Image : Sea ice distribution over the Antarctic Ocean)