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Microwave Imager (SSM/I)

NSSDCA ID: 2003-048A-05

Mission Name: DMSP 5D-3/F16


The SSM/I is a 7-channel, 4-frequency, linearly-polarized, passive microwave radiometric system which measures atmospheric, ocean and terrain microwave brightness temperatures at 19.35, 22.235, 37.0 and 85.5 GHz. The instrument scans across the ground track to gather data over a 1400-km swath width with horizontal resolutions of 13 to 50 km for different frequencies. SSM/I data are used to derive synoptic maps of geophysical parameters on a global scale; notably, ocean surface wind speed, area covered by ice, age of ice, ice edge, precipitation over land, cloud liquid water, integrated water vapor, precipitation over water, soil moisture, land surface temperature, snow cover and sea surface temperature. They can be also used for tropical storm reconnaissance, ship routing in polar regions, agricultural weather, aircraft routing and refueling, etc. Further information can be found at

NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center maintains the data archive at

Alternate Names

  • DMSP5D-3/F16/MicrowaveImager_SSM/I_

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense (United States)


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Earth Science: Land Surface Processes
  • Earth Science: Physical Oceanography

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Dieter K. Bilitza



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