Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit https://espo.nasa.gov for information about our current projects.


Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer - C/X Band (PSR/CX)


Operated By: 

Remote sensing of soil moisture using C- and X-band microwave frequencies provides less penetration of vegetation and soil probing depth than L-band, but is more amenable to implementation using airborne or spaceborne antennas of practical size. The Japanese AMSR-E imaging radiometer on board the NASA EOS Aqua satellite is one such sensor capable of retrieving soil moisture using a microwave channel at 6.9 GHz with ~75 km spatial resolution. Aqua was launched in May 2002, and will provide a global soil moisture product based on AMSR-E data. The C-band channels on the future NPOESS Conical Microwave Imager and Sounder (CMIS) will provide new operational capabilities for mapping soil moisture. Sea surface temperature is also observable under most cloud conditions using passive microwave C-band radiometry.

To provide airborne mapping capabilities for measuring both soil moisture and sea surface temperature a second operational PSR scanhead was built incorporating fully polarimetric C- and X-band radiometers inside a standard PSR scanhead drum. The C-band radiometer in PSR/CX provides vertically and horizontally polarized measurements within four adjacent subbands at 5.80-6.20, 6.30-6.70, 6.75-7.10, and 7.15-7.50 GHz. In addition, the radiometer provides fully polarimetric measurements at 6.75-7.10 GHz. The use of four subbands and polarimetric capability has provided a unique means of demonstrating and optimizing algorithms for RFI mitigation.

PSR/CX was originally implemented using only a C-band radiometer (as PSR/C) in preparation for SGP99. In preparation for SMEX02 an X-band radiometer was added to provide vertically and horizontally polarized measurements within four bands at 10.60-10.68, 10.68-10.70, 10.70-10.80, and 10.60-10.80 GHz. Fully polarimetric measurements are provided within 10.60-10.80 GHz. The combined dual-band system provides additional information on soil moisture, along with the capability to measure precipitation and the near-surface wind vector over water backgrounds. The X-band channels also provide additional RFI mitigation capability.

Applications of PSR/CX include ocean surface emissivity studies, soil moisture mapping, sea ice mapping, and imaging of heavy precipitation.

Instrument Type: 
Point(s) of Contact: 
Al Gasiewski (POC; PI)