Project Information

Distributed Information Services for Climate and Ocean Products and Visualizations for Earth Research.

DISCOVER strives to provide highly accurate, long-term satellite microwave retrievals suitable for the most demanding Earth research applications via easy-to-use display and data access tools. The quality of geophysical products is paramount.

DISCOVER is a multi-sensor, multi-platform project, involving dozens of microwave satellite instruments from the past, the present, and future. We will merge observations from numerous distinct satellites into daily products and consistent multi-decadal climate time series. This requires extreme care in satellite inter-calibration and commonality of geophysical algorithms applied to all sensors.

Project Partners

DISCOVER is a collaboration of Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). RSS, located in Santa Rosa, California, specializes in satellite microwave remote sensing. Information Technology researchers at UAH and the MSFC Earth Science Department jointly manage the Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC), a full-service data center. The GHRC is housed at the National Space Science Technology Center (NSSTC) on the UAH campus. For the past 10 years, RSS and GHRC have provided the Earth science community with research-quality data products and services while leading the evolution of distributed, heterogeneous, and collaborative processing and distribution environments.

Project History

Our state-of-the-art techniques employing physically-based retrieval procedures are a product of 25 years of refinements, beginning with early work on the SeaSat in 1978.

The NOAA / NASA SSM/I Pathfinder project has produced and disseminated high quality satellite retrievals of ocean products for the entire series of DMSP SSM/I instruments: F08, F10, F11, F13, F14, and F15. The SSM/I Pathfinder project pioneered the simultaneous retrieval of surface wind speed, columnar water vapor, cloud liquid water content, and rain rate from SSM/I observations. The products are widely regarded as being exceptionally well calibrated and are essential in the production and validation of other important data sets.

The Passive Microwave – Earth Science Information Partnership (PM-ESIP) then began to provide the earth science community near real-time access to SSM/I and TMI ocean products, including sea surface temperature (SST), made possible by the low frequency (10.7 GHz) channels on the TMI radiometer. This new microwave SST retrieval has opened the door to a number of exciting research areas in oceanography, air-sea interaction, and hurricane forecasting.

The DISCOVER team has a strong track record in identifying and removing unexpected sources of systematic error in radiometric measurements, including misspecification of SSM/I pointing geometry, the slightly emissive TMI antenna, and problems with the hot calibration source on AMSR-E. This in-depth experience with intercalibration is absolutely essential for achieving our objective of merging multi-sensor observations into consistent data sets.

Over two decades of success at RSS and GHCC are testament to the continual evolution of the research and data systems at these institutions. We are practicing scientists and information technologists who work directly with our Earth science colleagues to deliver the products, services and applications that the community requires and desires.