Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) Rainfall Products

Sensor Description:

The Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) is a conically scanning passive microwave radiometer with a 53.1 degree Earth incidence angle sensing upwelling microwave radiation at 24 channels covering a wide range of frequencies from 19 - 183 GHz. The first of five sensors was launched on board DMSP F16 on October 18, 2003. F17 was subsequently launched on November 4, 2006 and F18 was launched on October 18, 2009. The SSMIS is a joint US Air Force/Navy multi-channel passive microwave sensor that combines and extends the imaging and sounding capabilities of three seperate DMSP microwave sensors including the SSM/T, SSM/T2, and SSM/I.

Algorithm Description:

GPROF 2010: The rainfall algorithm used to compute rainfall estimates from the SSMIS brightness temperature data is the 2010 release of the Goddard PROFiling algorithm (GPROF) [Kummerow et al., 2001, Masunaga and Kummerow, 2005]. The SSMIS version of GPROF is not currently run operationally. Additional information is available on the SSMIS implementation details.

Version Information:
  • GPR10.B1 (GPROF 2010 beta version 1): The initial version of GPROF 2010 implemented for the SSMIS sensors is a beta or preliminary version. Note that the data products were erroneously labeled V1 originally. If you have the previous V1 data it is identical to the B1 data, only it was mislabeled. The current land retrieval is identical to the SSM/I land retrieval and does not account for the difference in the high frequency channels (85 GHz for SSM/I and 91 GHz for SSMIS). Note that over ocean the retrieval does account for sensor differences relative to SSM/I and TMI. The input SSMIS data is also currently a beta version of Fundamental Climate Data Record (FCDR) dataset being developed for NOAA. It has been intercalibrated to be physically consistent with the SSM/I sensors.
  • GPR10.V2 (GPROF 2010 version 2): A number of updates were made to the V1 retrieval to improve consistency between sensor and screen for desert on snow-covered regions over land. The land retrievals have been updated and are now available for all the sensors.

Input Brightness Temperature Data:

The rainfall products provided here are computed from the CSU FCDR brightness temperature dataset.

Data Availability:

Rainfall estimates are not currently available from SSMIS. We anticipate producing estimates from F16, F17, and F18 and the near future for the following periods.

Satellite Start Date End Date
F16 October 26, 2003 Present
F17 December 15, 2006 Present
F18 March 8, 2010 Present

Rainfall Data:

FTP Daily and Monthly Gridded Rainfall Data Files
File Format Specification for Daily Gridded Rainfall Files
File Format Specification for Monthly Gridded Rainfall Files

Rainfall Images:

Create/Display Daily Rainfall Images
Create/Display Monthly Rainfall Images
FTP Pre-rendered Rainfall Images


Get software to read the binary gridded rainfall files.

Additional Documentation/References:

–   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.
–   Masunaga, H. and C. D. Kummerow, 2005: Combined radar and radiometer analysis of precipitation profiles for a parametric retrieval algorithm, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 22, 909-929.

Related Links:

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