The National Space Development Agency of Japan's (NASDA) Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), onboard NASA’s Aqua spacecraft, began sending high quality data on June 1, 2002. Initial (uncalibrated) data gathered from the AMSR-E has delivered impressive pictures of the planet’s sea surface temperature from the 6.9 Ghz vertical polarization channel (top image) and brightness temperatures (bottom image) from the 89.0 Ghz vertical and horizontal polarization channels and the 23.8 Ghz vertical polarization channel, averaged over the 3-day period June 2-4, 2002. The sea surface temperature image is indicative of the high level of detail the microwave imager will routinely provide even in the presence of substantial cloud cover. In the brightness temperature image, ice and snow cover in white and yellow, desert areas in shades of green, other land areas in dark colors, and oceans in shades of blue.
Images courtesy AMSR-E Science Team, National Space Development Agency of Japan