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Image Gallery

This page provides some examples of pictures created and analyses made from Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder data with simple captions. Click on the image for a larger view. If you want the original image data from which these images were derived, click on the Image Data, Data Search, or Derived Products links. Images are copyright BYU (2000-20010).

QuikSCAT/ASCAT Icebergs (QuikSCAT and ASCAT)

This image at (JD 215, 2009) is one frame of a movie showing the motion of icebergs in the Weddell Sea as observed simultaneously by the Ku-band QuikSCAT and the C-band ASCAT scatterometers. The differences in sensitivity and resolution of the two sensors are apparent. These images were generated in near-real time by the Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder. (Images copyright BYU, 2012.)

Deep Horizon Oil Spill (ASCAT)

This (JD 119, 2010) is one of many images of the Deep Horizon oil spill observed by enhanced resolution C-band ASCAT data. Images such as these were generated in near-real time by the Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder team to support oil spill tracking at NOAA during 2010. (Images copyright BYU, 2010.)

Simultaneous C- and Ku-band Image of Antarctica (ASCAT and QuikSCAT)

This (JD 217, 2008) false color RGB image was create from a single day of Ku-band data from QuikSCAT and C-band data from ASCAT. Red is the QuikSCAT H-pol sigma-0 (46 deg incidence angle), Green is the QuikSCAT V-pol sigma-0 (54 deg incidence angle), and Blue is the ASCAT V-pol sigma-0 at 40 deg incidence angle. The images reveals the power of multi-band scatterometry for observing the polar region. The resulting hues in the image can be interpreted as follows: Open ocean is blue/green. Dark purple is young first year sea ice. Older first year and multi-year sea ice are yellow/gold. Glacial ice that has melted/refrozen is white, with unmodified firn showing as browns and golds. Icebergs in the sea ice show up as white. (Images copyright BYU, 2010.)

Simultaneous C- and Ku-band Image of Grenland (ASCAT and QuikSCAT)

This (JD 217, 2008) false color RGB image was create from a single day of Ku-band data from QuikSCAT and C-band data from ASCAT. Red is the QuikSCAT H-pol sigma-0 (46 deg incidence angle), Green is the QuikSCAT V-pol sigma-0 (54 deg incidence angle), and Blue is the ASCAT V-pol sigma-0 at 40 deg incidence angle. The images reveals the power of multi-band scatterometry for observing the polar region. Hues visible in the image are as follows: Purple corresponds to land. Summer melt on the ice sheet periphery is the darker region between the white and purple regions. Refrozen melt-zone is bright white. Unmelted firn in central Greenland is brown and gold (Texturing in the lower left portion of the melt zone is an artifact of the diurnal melt cycle due to using passes at different times of the day.) (Images copyright BYU, 2010.)

World Winds Poster (QuikSCAT)

Produced entirely from Quikscat data, this image illustrates the wealth of information available in scatterometer data. Over the ocean, colors indicate wind speed (blue is low, yellow high) while the wind direction is indicated with white streamlines. The land areas are enhanced resolution backscatter values ranging from high values in tropical vegetation to low values in the deserts. The sea ice extent at the poles is calculated from the scatterometer data and is imaged as enhanced resolution backscatter values. The dry snow zone and melt facies of Greenland can be clearly distinguished. Click on the image for a poster-size image. (Images copyright BYU, 2010.)

Iceberg Tracking Database (Pathfinder)

Tracking and observation of icebergs from 1978 through to present has been done using scatterometer data from SeaSat, NSCAT, ERS-1/2, QuikSCAT, and ASCAT. This image shows Antarctic iceberg tracks from 1978-1992. Currently, ASCAT images are used for near-real time iceberg tracking.

World Winds (QuikSCAT)

Produced entirely from Quikscat data, this image illustrates the wealth of information available in scatterometer data. Over the ocean, colors indicate wind speed (blue is low, yellow high) while the wind direction is indicated with white streamlines. The land areas are enhanced resolution backscatter values ranging from high values in tropical vegetation to low values in the deserts. The sea ice extent at the poles is calculated from the scatterometer data and is imaged as enhanced resolution backscatter values. The dry snow zone and melt facies of Greenland can be clearly distinguished. Click on the image for a larger view. (Image copyright BYU, 2000.)

QuikSCAT observes the world as a KMZ(QuikSCAT)

Produced entirely from Quikscat data for 22 Feb 2006, this KMZ file illustrates scatterometer data over the land, ocean, and ice. This visualization has only limited resolution, but Google Earth makes viewing fun.

KMZ/KML of QuikSCAT icebergs 1999-2009 (QuikSCAT)

This (large!) animated KMZ file illustrates the positions of large (>5 km) Antarctic icebergs tracked using QuikSCAT enhanced resolution images. Adjust the time span of the slider bar to see moving icebergs as a function of time. QuikSCAT backscatter is shown over the continent.

Huricanes and Tropical Cyclones(QuikSCAT and SeaWinds)

The QuikSCAT resolution enhancement algorithm used for land imaging can be adapted to supported ultra-high (2.5 km posting) resolution (UHR) wind measurement. This image shows winds speeds around the eye of Hurricane Katrina on 28 Aug. 2005. UHR winds provide additional detail about the storm and can aid in storm tracking. UHR wind images are available in near-real time from NOAA and the JPL PO.DAAC.

Antartic Ice (QuikSCAT)

A reduced-resolution image formed from QuikSCAT sigma-0 measurements that demonstrates the wealth of information contained in the scatterometer data. This image shows Antarctica and the surrounding sea ice constructed from a single day of scatterometer data in July 1999. This image reveals the presense of iceberg B10A, a 50 km x 100 km "super-berg" which broke off the Thwaites ice tongue in 1995 and circulated in the sea-ice pack until breaking up north of South Georia Island in Jan. 2000. Lost by the U.S. National Ice Center, this iceberg was rediscovered by QuikSCAT shortly after QuikSCAT's launch. The grey band around the continent is sea-ice pack surrounding Antarctica. The variations in sea ice show the circulation patterns and are due to the snow cover, thickness, and history of the ice since formation. This information is essential to understand the effects of the ice pack on the ocean and climate systems. Antarctica is overed with a thick ice sheet which appears very bright in the image due to snow crust and refrozen ice in the snow cover. Details visible in the glacial ice cover show the locations of ice "hills" and "valleys" which reveal information about the flow of the ice over the subsurface topography. In this image, open ocean has been masked off using the QuikSCAT sea extent algorithm.

Antartic Image (NSCAT)

An image formed from NSCAT sigma-0 measurements that demonstrate the wealth of information contained in the scatterometer data. This image shows Antarctica and the surrounding sea ice constructed from 6 days of scatterometer data in Sept. 1996. The black circle in the center of the image is where no data was collected owing to NSCAT's orbital and sampling geometry. The dark band around the continent is sea-ice pack surrounding Antarctica. The variations in sea ice show the circulation patterns and are due to the snow cover, thickness, and history of the ice since formation. This information is essential to understand the effects of the ice pack on the ocean and climate systems. The white, rectangular object in the ice pack on the lower left of the image is the the B10A 50 km x 100 km "super-berg" which broke off the Thwaites ice tongue in 1995 and circulate in the sea-ice pack until breaking up north of South Georia Island in Jan. 2000. Other large icebergs are also visible in the image. Antarctica is overed with a thick ice sheet which appears very bright in the image due to snow crust and refrozen ice in the snow cover. Details visible in the glacial ice cover show the locations of ice "hills" and "valleys" which reveal information about the flow of the ice over the subsurface topography. In this image, open ocean has been masked off using the NSCAT sea extent algorithm.

Global Image (NSCAT)

A full global image as produced from NSCAT data is (b/w gif 402K) (color gif 383K) . The brightest regions are glacial ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica as described above. For other regions, the brightness of the image is related to the vegetation cover and soil moisture. Tropical rainforests along the equator in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are relatively bright while desert regions are dark. Very dry, sandy deserts show up as black in this image. Some examples are the Empty Quarter in Saudia Arbia, the Gobi desert in Western China, and the great erg (sand dune) seas in Sahara desert in North Africa. The light area just below the wide, dark band in Africa is known as the Sahel. This area lightens and darkens with the changing season and drought conditions in Africa. The seasonal radar response of the Sahel is thought to be a sensitive indicator of desertification due to global warming and climate change. Global data images and browse producuts are available for QuikSCAT and other sensors.

Tropical Rainforest (NSCAT)

Tropical rainforests are critical to the climate health of the world and are thought to contain 1/2 of all the world's species. Figure 4 [hires b/w gif 523K] [lores b/w gif 99K] [color gif 492K) shows the Amazon rainforest over South America as observed by NSCAT. Because the radar response is sensitive to the type and density of vegetation, the scatterometer data can provide information useful for discriminating and mapping vegetation. A false color image helps discriminate general areas of tropical rainforest (blues and purples) from woodlands and savannah (greens and yellows). Mountains and degraded farm lands show up as black. [Note: this particular image is not a classification image.] The NSCAT data is able to delineate the extent of the tropical rainforest.

Tropical Rainforest (TRMM PR)

The Tropical Rain Mapping Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) was designed to measure the vertical profile of rain at Ku-band. [full res TRMM PR image 6MB] TRMM PR also made measurements of the surface backscatter at incidence angles of 0 to 20 deg. At this low incidence angle, below-canopy water shows up more readily than at mid and high incidence angles (compare NSCAT image above), which is collected at 40 deg. TRMM PR measurements are also useful for studying deserts.

Greenland Radar (SASS and ERS-1)

Seasonal melting has a dramatic effect on radar backscatter which is different at different frequencies. This image illustrates the variation in radar backscatter at 40 deg incidence angle at Ku-band (SASS) and C-band (ERS-1). Significant melting along the periphery of the Greenland ice sheet results in reduced backscatter during melt. Once refrozen, however, the area has enhanced backscatter due to volume backscattering from subsurface ice structures. These Greenland images are made with enhanced resolution processing.

Other studies

NSCAT Probability Distribution (NSCAT)

NSCAT employed an onboard digital Doppler processing for along-beam resolution. As a result it is possible to derive analytic expressions for the probability density distribution of the noise-like scatterometer measurements. This can be helpful when examining the temperature and low wind speed sensitivity of Ku-band measuements.

Antarctic Melting (QuikSCAT)

Time series analysis of the radar backscatter can be used to determine the on-set of melt and re-freezing.