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Scanning Multispectral Microwave Radiometer (SMMR)

NSSDC ID: 1978-098A-08
Mission Name: Nimbus 7
Principal Investigator: Dr. Per Gloersen


The primary purpose of the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) was to obtain sea surface temperature and near-surface winds under all-weather conditions for developing and testing global ocean circulation models and other aspects of ocean dynamics. Winds, water vapor, liquid-water content, mean cloud droplet size, rainfall rate and sea ice parameters were also determined. Microwave brightness temperatures were observed with a 10-channel (five-frequency dual polarized) scanning radiometer operating at frequencies of 37, 21, 18, 10.69, and 6.6 GHz. Six Dicke-type radiometers were utilized. Those operating at the four longest wavelengths measured alternate polarizations during successive scans of the antenna; the others operated continuously for each polarization. The antenna was a parabolic reflector offset from the nadir by 42 deg. Motion of the antenna reflector provided observations from within a conical volume along the ground track of the spacecraft. The same instrument was flown on SEASAT 1. For a complete description, see Section 8 in "The Nimbus 7 Users' Guide" (TRF B30045), available from NSSDC.

Alternate Names

  • SMMR

Facts in Brief

Mass: 52.3 kg
Power (avg): 60.0 W
Bit rate (avg): 25.0 bps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Earth Science: Physical Oceanography

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office.



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. Kristina B. KatsarosTeam MemberUniversity of
Prof. David H. StaelinTeam MemberMassachusetts Institute of
Dr. Rene O. RamseierTeam MemberSurveillance Satellite Project 
Mr. E. J. LanghamTeam MemberCanadian Space Agency-Radarsat Project Office 
Dr. D. B. RossTeam MemberNOAA Environmental Research Laboratories 
Mr. E. P.L. WindsorTeam MemberBritish Air Corporation, Ltd 
Mr. Frank T. BarathTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. Donald J. CavalieriTeam MemberNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Alfred T. C. ChangTeam MemberNASA Goddard Space Flight
Prof. Klaus F. KunziTeam MemberUniversitat
Mr. John C. AlishouseTeam MemberNOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service 
Dr. Preben E. GudmandsenTeam MemberTechnical University of Denmark 
Dr. William J. CampbellTeam MemberUS Geological Survey 
Dr. Per GloersenTeam LeaderNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Ola M. JohannessenTeam MemberUS Naval Postgraduate School 
Dr. Thomas T. Wilheit, Jr.Team MemberNASA Goddard Space Flight

Selected References

Gloersen, P., and F. T. Barath, Scanning multichannel microwave radiometer for Nimbus-G and SEASAT-A, IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., OE-2, No. 2, 172-178, Apr. 1977.

Gloersen, P., et al., Summary of results from the first Nimbus 7 SMMR observations, J. Geophys. Res., 89, No. D4, 5335-5344, June 1984.

Gloerson, P., and L. Hardis, The scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR) experiment, In--The Nimbus 7 Users' Guide, edited by C.R. Madrid, Management and Technical Services Company, Beltsville, MD, The Landsat/Nimbus Project, NASA/GSFC, p. 213, Aug. 1978.

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