AMSRU Overview

The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer Unified products are created by reprocessing the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer - Earth Observing System Sensor (AMSR-E) data and integrated with Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer2 (AMSR2) data, providing a continuous record of measurements of water vapor, cloud liquid water, precipitation, sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface wind speed, sea ice concentration, snow depth, and soil moisture from 2002 to the present. The NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) will distribute standard daily, weekly, and monthly Level-2B and Level-3 NASA AMSR Unified products.

Instrument Descriptions


AMSR-E is a twelve-channel, six-frequency, passive-microwave radiometer system onboard NASA's Aqua satellite, which launched 02 May 2002. It measures horizontally and vertically polarized brightness temperatures at 6.9 GHz, 10.7 GHz, 18.7 GHz, 23.8 GHz, 36.5 GHz, and 89.0 GHz. The AMSR-E instrument ceased operations 04 December 2011. For more detailed information on the AMSR-E instrument, refer to AMSR-E Instrument Description page.


Onboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) satellite launched on May 18, 2012, the AMSR2 instrument measures weak microwave emissions from the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Approximately 700 km above the Earth, AMSR2 provides accurate measurements of microwave emissions and scattering. The antenna of AMSR2 rotates once every 1.5 seconds and obtains data over a 1450 km swath on the Earth's surface. This conical scan mechanism enables AMSR2 to acquire a set of daytime and nighttime data with more than 99% coverage of the Earth every 2 days. Figure 1 below provides a graphical representation of the channel specifications and related products, where dots represent the channels used to derive the various standard products, and the width of the blue vertical bars reflects the bandwidth of each channel.

AMSR2 Channel Specifications and Products
Figure 1. AMSR2 Channel Specifications and Products

For more information, refer to the About AMSR2 - Observing System on the GCOM-W1 website.

Satellite Missions

Aqua Earth-observing Satellite Mission

Aqua is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. The Aqua mission is a part of the NASA-centered international Earth Observing System (EOS).

Global Change Observing Mission-1st Water

The GCOM-W1 mission aims to establish a global, long-term observation system to collect data, which will help in the understanding of the mechanisms of climate and water cycle variations. The AMSR2 instrument is on board the first generation GCOM-W1 satellite. For more information about AMSR2 and the mission, refer to the GCOM-W1 website.