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AMSR-E/Aqua L2A Global Swath Spatially-Resampled Brightness Temperatures, Version 4 (AE_L2A)
Data set:
This is the most recent version of these data.
Version Summary

Changes to this algorithm include:

Complete recalibration of AMSR-E Brightness Temperatures to the RSS Version 8 standard, as follows:

  • Intercalibrated with other microwave radiometers, especially GMI[1], WindSat, and TMI[2].

  • Calibration with improved Ocean Radiative Transfer Model (ORTM): The width of the 22 GHz water vapor line reduced by 4%.

  • Improved calibration over warm scenes (land and cryosphere), based on heavily vegetated tropical rainforest scenes. Specifically rainforest emissivity, based on well calibrated GMI observations, and nonlinearity corrections for all channels.

  • Adjusted Antenna Pattern Coefficients (APC) for cross-polarization and spillover.

  • Shifted the 18.7 GHz center observation frequency back too nominal.

  • Updated the algorithm to compute effective hot load temperature based on 1 hour colocations with TMI.


The AMSR-E Level-2A product (AE_L2A) contains daily 50 minute half-orbit swath brightness temperatures for six channels ranging from 6.9 GHz through 89 GHz. Data are resampled to spatial resolutions ranging from 5.4 km to 56 km. Each file is packaged with geolocation and quality information as well as ancillary data.
Data Contributor(s):
  • Peter
  • Frank
Data Format(s):
Temporal Coverage:
1 June 2002 to 4 October 2011
Temporal Resolution:
50 minute
Spatial Resolution:
Spatial Coverage:

Data Access & Tools

A free NASA Earthdata Login account is required to access these data. Learn More

Help Articles

How To

Many NSIDC data set web pages provide the ability to search and filter data with spatial and temporal contstraints using a map-based interface. This article outlines how to order NSIDC DAAC data using advanced searching and filtering. 
To convert HDF5 files into binary format you will need to use the h5dump utility, which is part of the HDF5 distribution available from the HDF Group. How you install HDF5 depends on your operating system.
Each AE_L2A data file has a time stamp for each scan. The time array is stored as Vdata under the variable name, Time. a) Using the hdp tool, the Time array can be dumped into a text file using the following commands:
  Data from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) can be accessed directly from our HTTPS file system or through our Application Programming Interface (API).
NASA Earthdata Search is a map-based interface where a user can search for Earth science data, filter results based on spatial and temporal constraints, and order data with customizations including re-formatting, re-projecting, and spatial and parameter subsetting.
NASA Worldview uses the Global Imagery Browse Service (GIBS) to provide up to date, full resolution imagery for select NSIDC DAAC data sets (see attachments below).
NASA's Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) provides up to date, full resolution imagery for selected NSIDC DAAC data sets. 

Getting started

The following table describes the data subsetting, reformatting, and reprojection services that are currently available for AMSR-E data via the NASA Earthdata Search tool.
Each frequency is looking at a different size footprint. Each frequency has its own feedhorn, and is thus susceptible to independent pointing errors. The most important benefit of resampling (or smoothing) is to create a suite of frequencies that are all looking at the same scene.
A typical AMSR-E swath width consists of approximately 2000 scans, with 243 pixels per scan for the 6.9 GHz to 36.5 GHz channels, and 486 pixels per scan for the 89.0 GHz channel.