False-Color Display of Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) Data

Andrew J. Negri, Robert F. Adler, and Christian D. Kummerow

Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Christian D. Kummerow

Universities Space Research Association


Displays of multi-frequency passive microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) flying on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft are presented. Observed brightness temperatures at 85.5 GHz (vertical and horizontal polarizations) and 37 GHz (vertical polarization) are respectively used to "drive" the red, green, and blue "guns" of a color monitor. The resultant false-color images can be used to distinguish land from water, highlight precipitation processes and structure over both land and water, and detail variations in other surfaces such as deserts, snow cover, and sea ice. The observations at 85.5 Ghz also add a previously unavailable frequency to the problem of rainfall estimation from space. Examples of mesoscale squall lines, tropical and extra-tropical storms, and larger-scale land and atmospheric features as “viewed” by the SSM/I are shown.