Passive microwave SSM/I brightness temperature dataset for China (1987-2007)

This data set includes the microwave brightness temperatures obtained by the spaceborne microwave radiometer SSM/I carried by the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite. It contains the twice daily (ascending and descending) brightness temperatures of seven channels, which are 19H, 19V, 22V, 37H, 37V, 85H, and 85V.

The Specialized Microwave Imager (SSM/I) was developed by the Hughes Corporation of the United States. In 1987, it was first carried into the space on the Block 5D-/F8 satellite of the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) to perform a detection mission. In the 10 years from when the DMSP soared to orbit in 1987 to when the TRMM soared to orbit in 1997, the SSM/I was the world's most advanced spaceborne passive microwave remote sensing detection instrument, having the highest spatial resolution in the world. The DMSP satellite is in a near-polar circular solar synchronous orbit; the elevation is approximately 833 km, the inclination is 98.8 degrees, and the orbital period is 102.2 minutes. It passes through the equator at approximately 6:00 local time and covers the whole world once every 24 hours. The SSM/I consists of seven channels set at four frequencies, and the center frequencies are 19.35, 22.24, 37.05, and 85.50 GHz. The instrument actually comprises seven independent, total-power, balanced-mixing, superheterodyne passive microwave radiometer systems, and it can simultaneously measure microwave radiation from Earth and the atmospheric systems. Except for the 22.24 GHz frequency, all the frequencies have both horizontal and vertical polarization states.

Some Eigenvalues of SSM/I

Channel Frequency

(GHz) Polarization Mode (V/H) Spatial Resolution

(km * km) Footprint Size


19V 19.35 V 25×25 56

19H 19.35 H 25×25 56

22V 22.24 V 25×25 45

37V 37.05 V 25×25 33

37H 37.05 H 25×25 33

85V 85.50 V 12.5×12.5 14

85H 85.50 H 12.5×12.5 14

1. File Format and Naming:

Each group of data consists of remote sensing data files, .JPG image files and .met auxiliary information files as well as .TIM time information files and the corresponding .met time information auxiliary files.

The data file names and naming rules for each group in the SSMI_Grid_China directory are as follows:

China-EASE-Fnn-ML/HaaaabbbA/D.ccH/V (remote sensing data);

China-EASE-Fnn -ML/HaaaabbbA/D.ccH/V.jpg (image file);

China-EASE-Fnn-ML/HaaaabbbA/D.ccH/V.met (auxiliary information document);

China-EASE-Fnn-ML/HaaaabbbA/D.TIM (time information file); and

China-EASE- Fnn -ML/HaaaabbbA/D.TIM.met (time information auxiliary file).

Among them, EASE stands for EASE-Grid projection mode; Fnn represents carrier satellite number (F08, F11, and F13); ML/H represents multichannel low resolution and multichannel high resolution; A/D stands for ascending (A) and descending (D); aaaa represents the year; bbb represents the Julian day of the year; cc represents the channel number (19H, 19V, 22V, 37H, 37V, 85H, and 85V); and H/V represents horizontal polarization (H) and vertical polarization (V).

2. Coordinate System and Projection:

The projection method is an equal-area secant cylindrical projection, and the double standard latitude is 30 degrees north and south. For more information on EASE-GRID, please refer to If you need to convert the EASE-Grid projection method into a geographic projection method, please refer to the ease2geo.prj file, which reads as follows.


Projection cylindrical

Units meters

Parameters 6371228 6371228

1 /* Enter projection type (1, 2, or 3)

0 00 00 /* Longitude of central meridian

30 00 00 /* Latitude of standard parallel



Spheroid KRASovsky

Units dd



3. Data Format:

Stored as binary integers, each datum occupies 2 bytes. The data that are actually stored in this data set are the brightness temperatures *10, and after reading the data, they need to be divided by 10 to obtain true brightness temperature.

4. Data Resolution:

Spatial resolution: 25 km, 12.5 km (SSM/I 85 GHz);

Time resolution: day by day, from 1978 to 2007.

5. The Spatial Coverage:

Longitude: 60°-140° east longitude;

Latitude: 15°-55° north latitude.

6. Data Reading:

Each group of data includes remote sensing image data files, .JPG image files and .met auxiliary information files. The JPG files can be opened with Windows image and fax viewers. The .met auxiliary information files can be opened with notepad, and the remote sensing image data files can be opened in ENVI and ERDAS software.

Required Data Citation View Data Cite Help About Data Citation
Cite as:

National Snow and Ice Data Center(NSIDC). Passive microwave SSM/I brightness temperature dataset for China (1987-2007). A Big Earth Data Platform for Three Poles, 2011. (Download the reference: RIS | Bibtex )

Related Literatures:

1. Comiso, J. C. (2017). Bootstrap Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I-SSMIS, Version 3. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center.( View Details | Bibtex)

Using this data, the data citation is required to be referenced and the related literatures are suggested to be cited.

References literature

1.Bi, X.M., &Zhang, W.C. (2008). Long Term Analyses on Spatial and Temporal Evaluation of Snow Covers in Northern China by Using RS and Meteorological data. International Workshop on Education Technology and Training & International Workshop on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 2, 368-371. (View Details )

2.Li, Y., Gu, J.L., Zhang, P., Liu, Y., Ma, L.Y. (2010). Snow cover storage retrieval by remote sensing technology and variation analysis on the Junggar Basin. Arid Land Geography, 33(4), 623-629. (View Details )

User Limit

To respect the intellectual property rights, protect the rights of data authors, expand services of the data center, and evaluate the application potential of data, data users should clearly indicate the source of the data and the author of the data in the research results generated by using the data (including published papers, articles, data products, and unpublished research reports, data products and other results). For re-posting (second or multiple releases) data, the author must also indicate the source of the original data. The results published in Chinese can be indicated by the following specifications: Data from the Heihe Plan Data Management Center ( The results published in English can be indicated by the following specifications: The data set is provided by Cold and Arid Regions Sciences Data Center at Lanzhou (

License: This work is licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Geographic coverage
East: 135.50 West: 73.20
South: 17.80 North: 53.90
  • File size: 27,101 MB
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  • Temporal coverage: 1987-01-01 To 2007-12-31
  • Updated time: 2019-08-08
Contact Information
: National Snow and Ice Data Center(NSIDC)  

Distributor: A Big Earth Data Platform for Three Poles


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