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Microwave Science Header - Artist Concept of a MWSCI Instrument Scanning the Earth's Surface
Overview

Field research campaigns are essential for observing and measuring actual Earth system phenomena and validating computer models that simulate Earth systems. Ultimately, field data help improve the nation's ability to predict climate change and its impacts. Data collected during field campaigns is very accurate and helps to validate measurements taken from space. Instruments are mounted on one of NASA's aircrafts and flown over a region of interest to collect data and get a very close look at several earth system processes.

Instruments such as HAMSR measure the microwave spectrum and return information about temperature and water vapor in the atmosphere. Flight plans are carefully decided on so that an aircraft can fly over an emerging phenomena, such as a hurricane, and be measured up-close. Data is then collected and stored from all instruments and made available at the Global Hydrology Resource Center.

hamsr path
HAMSR data from hurricane Erin (9/10/01), showing the observations in two channels. Fig. a shows data from a transparent temperature channel. The ocean surface appears cold (blue) due to low emissivity. The eye of the hurricane is visible (note that it moves between successive legs of the flight). Fig. b shows data from a transparent moisture channel. Pink areas represent warm moisture 2-4 km above the surface (the surface itself cannot be seen). Blue areas represent regions that appear extremely cold due to scattering, primarily from high altitude graupel.
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