Fun with flags and other data quality information: AMSR-E’s new one-stop shop

The quality of a data set is very important to its user. Not knowing about data quality can lead to misleading interpretations and erroneous results. However, readily accessible data quality information enables the user to assess the limitations of a data set and to interpret the data accordingly.

Several of NSIDC’s data sets include quality information, which can range from flags, masks, or fields in the data or metadata to separate data quality summary files. Additional quality information is also often included in data set documentation and linked peer-reviewed literature. Thus, it can be a laborious process for data users to locate and interpret all of the quality information for a particular data set.

Fortunately, users of AMSR-E data sets can access all of this information in one convenient location. The new AMSR-E Data Quality Web pages provide information on the quality flags and files as well as data uncertainty reports provided by AMSR-E Principal Investigators. The data uncertainty reports are separated by parameter, such as sea ice and soil moisture, and provide the following:

  • A synopsis on sources of uncertainty
  • Best estimates of data uncertainty under optimal conditions for each measurement, including a confidence interval where possible
  • A description of how to interpret quality flags to understand the conditions under which uncertainty may be greater

If you are an AMSR-E data user, check out this one-stop shop for data quality information.

Flags at South Pole

International flags at the South Pole, pictured here, are symbolic of the Antarctic Treaty, just as data quality flags are symbolic of the quality of a data set. Credit: Ted Scambos, NSIDC