Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) Rainfall Products

Sensor Description:

SSM/I was first launched on boad the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F8 satellite in June of 1987. The DMSP series satellites are in sun-synchronous polar orbits at an altitude of approximately 830 km. The instrument is a seven channel linearly polarized passive microwave radiometer operating at frequencies of 19.36, 22.235, 37.0, and 85.5 GHz. Detailed specifications for the spacecraft and instrument are given by Hollinger et al. [1987] and Hollinger [1989, 1991].

Algorithm Version:

Input Brightness Temperature Data:

The rainfall products provided here are computed from the Level 1C brightness temperature dataset.

Data Availability:

Rainfall estimates are currently available from all the SSM/I sensors, with the exception of F10, from January 1997 through the present. This includes the following. Note that we hope to eventually obtain and process data prior to 1997, however, this will depend on the availability of the SSM/I TDR data from NOAA and funding for this project.
                F11 -> January 1, 1997 May 15, 2005
                F13 -> January 1, 1997 Present
                F14 -> May 8, 1997 Present
                F15 -> February 23, 2000 Present

Rainfall Data:

Gridded daily and monthly rainfall maps have been produced for the period specified above. These data are stored as byte values in a binary data format to minimize storage/data transfer requirements and avoid byte swapping issues between different computer systems.
                FTP Rainfall Data
Daily Gridded Rainfall Files Format
                Monthly Gridded Rainfall Files Format

Rainfall Images:

Browse images in png format have been created for both the daily and monthly gridded rainfall data products.
                Create Daily Rainfall Images
Create Monthly Rainfall Images
FTP Pre-rendered Rainfall Images


Software to read the binary data files is available in both C and IDL.
                Get software

Additional Documentation/References:

–   Hollinger, J., R. Lo, and G. Poe, Special Sensor Microwave/Imager User's Guide, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., Sep. 14, 1987.
–   Hollinger, J. DMSP Special Sensor Microwave/Imager Calibration/Validation, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., Vol 1, July 20, 1989.
–   Hollinger, J. DMSP Special Sensor Microwave/Imager Calibration/Validation, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., Vol 2, May 20, 1991.
–   Kummerow, C., Y. Hong, W. S. Olson, S. Yang, R. F. Adler, J. McCollum, R. Ferraro, G. Petty, D. B. Shin, and T. T. Wilheit, 2001: The evolution of the Goddard profiling algorithm (GPROF) for rainfall estimation from passive microwave sensors, J. Appl. Meteor., 40, 1801-1820.

Related Links:

                National Geophysical Data Center
                Remote Sensing Systems
                NOAA Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS)