BackForwardInstrument:  AMI-SCAT 

Instrument details
Acronym AMI-SCAT
Full name Active Microwave Instrument - Scatterometer
Purpose Sea surface wind vector. Also large-scale soil moisture
Short description C-band (5.3 GHz), 3 side looking antennas
Background One operating mode of AMI (Active Microwave Instrument) on ERS-1 and ERS-2
Scanning Technique One 500-km swath starting from 200 km off-track.  3 looks each pixel (45, 90 and 135° azimuth)
Resolution Best quality: 50 km; sampling: 25 km
Coverage / Cycle Global coverage in 3 days average, depending on operation mode (alternative to AMI-SAR, duty cycle about 70 %)
Mass 325.8 kg Power 4800 W Data Rate 500 kbps

 

Providing Agency ESA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 1991 to 2011-07-06
Last update: 2012-06-06
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Scatterometer
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Wind speed over the surface (horizontal)
  • Wind vector over the surface (horizontal)
Secondary mission objectives
  • Sea-ice type
  • Soil moisture (in the roots region)
  • Soil moisture at surface
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Biomass4 - fairIndex only.. Coarse spatial resolution.C-band sensitive to total biomass
Leaf Area Index (LAI)3 - highCoarse spatial resolution.C-band scatterometer sensitive to LAI
Sea-ice type4 - fairNo specific limitation.Scatterometer, C-band (around 5.3 GHz). Type interpreted as age/roughness
Snow cover4 - fairCoarse spatial resolution.. Thick snow only.Scatterometer in C-band (around 5.3 GHz)
Snow status (wet/dry)4 - fairCoarse spatial resolution.. Thick snow only.Scatterometer in C-band (around 5.3 GHz)
Snow water equivalent5 - marginalCoarse spatial resolution.. Ground stations network needed.Scatterometer in C-band (around 5.3 GHz)
Soil moisture (in the roots region)4 - fairCoarse spatial resolution.. Affected by vegetation.Scatterometer in C-band (around 5.3 GHz). Assimilation process required
Soil moisture at surface2 - very highCoarse spatial resolution.. Affected by vegetation.Scatterometer in C-band (around 5.3 GHz)
Wind speed over the surface (horizontal)1 - primaryOver sea only.C-band scatterometer around 5.3 GHz
Wind vector over the surface (horizontal)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Over sea only.. Highly indirect.C-band scatterometer around 5.3 GHz