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Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
18 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).
A global satellite environmental data record derived from AMSR-E and AMSR2 microwave earth observations
Jinyang Du1, John S. Kimball2, Lucas A. Jones1, Youngwook Kim1, Joseph Glassy2, and Jennifer D. Watts1 1Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, College of Forestry & Conservation, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, United States
2Lupine Logic, Inc., Missoula, MT 59802, United States
Abstract. Space-borne microwave remote sensing is widely used to monitor global environmental changes for understanding hydrological, ecological and climate processes. A new global land parameter data record (LPDR) was generated using similar calibrated, multi-frequency brightness temperature (Tb) retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) and the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2). The resulting LPDR provides a long-term (Jun. 2002 – Dec. 2015) global record of key environmental observations at 25-km grid cell resolution, including surface fractional open water (fw) cover, atmosphere precipitable water vapor (PWV), daily maximum and minimum surface air temperatures (Tmx and Tmn), vegetation optical depth (VOD) and surface volumetric soil moisture (vsm). Global mapping of the land parameter climatology means and seasonal variability over the full-year records from AMSR-E (2003–2010) and AMSR2 (2013–2015) observation periods is consistent with characteristic global climate and vegetation patterns. Quantitative comparisons with independent observations indicated favorable LPDR performance for fw (R ≥ 0.75; RMSE ≤ 0.06), PWV (R ≥ 0.91; RMSE ≤ 4.99 mm), Tmx and Tmn (R ≥ 0.90; RMSE ≤ 3.48 ºC), and vsm (0.63 ≤ R ≤ 0.84; bias corrected RMSE ≤ 0.06 cm3/cm3). The LPDR derived global VOD record is also proportional to satellite observed NDVI (GIMMS3g) seasonality (R ≥ 0.88) due to synergy between canopy biomass structure and photosynthetic greenness. Statistical analysis shows overall LPDR consistency, but with small biases between AMSR-E and AMSR2 retrievals that should be considered when evaluating long-term environmental trends. The resulting LPDR and potential updates from continuing AMSR2 operations provide for effective global monitoring of environmental parameters related to vegetation activity, terrestrial water storage and mobility; and are suitable for climate and ecosystem studies. The LPDR data set is publicly available at

Citation: Du, J., Kimball, J. S., Jones, L. A., Kim, Y., Glassy, J., and Watts, J. D.: A global satellite environmental data record derived from AMSR-E and AMSR2 microwave earth observations, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Jinyang Du et al.
Jinyang Du et al.


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Short summary
We developed a global Land Parameter Data Record (LPDR) (2002 – 2015) using satellite microwave observations. The LPDR algorithms exploit multi-frequency microwave observations to derive a set of environmental variables, including surface fractional water, atmosphere precipitable water vapor, daily surface air temperatures, vegetation optical depth and volumetric soil moisture. The resulting LPDR shows favorable accuracy and provides for consistent monitoring of global environmental changes.
We developed a global Land Parameter Data Record (LPDR) (2002 – 2015) using satellite...