Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The PO.DAAC is pleased to announce the public release of the ISS-RapidScat Sigma-0 L1B and L2A Version 2.0 datasets, which provide backscatter cross-section (sigma-0) measurements from the RapidScat instrument flown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) from 2014 to 2016. The L1B data were used to derive surface wind vectors provided in the corresponding L2B products (e.g. Sigma-0 retrievals provided in the L1B dataset are binned to 12.5-km and 25-km wind vector cells in the two L2A datasets.

The version 2.0 datasets represent a complete historical reprocessing of the data record from ISS-RapidScat, combining three time periods (where signal to noise ratios varied) originally covered separately by versions 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. Measurements cover the region of Earth 61°S to 61°N and provide the opportunity to observe diurnal and semi-diurnal variability over seasonal time scales since ISS-RapidScat provides measurements that are asynchronous with respect to the solar day cycle of the Earth’s. Temporal coverage extends from 2014-Oct-03 to 2016-Aug-19. More information regarding the ISS-RapidScat mission is available from the eoPortal and from on PO.DAAC’s mission page.

Files can be browsed and downloaded using Earthdata Search, accessed directly on the AWS Cloud S3 buckets, or using PO.DAAC’s data subscriber tool. The latter provides a quick method of bulk download from the command line, e.g. an example command to download a month of data files from the L1B collection:

podaac-data-subscriber -c RSCAT_L1B_V2.0 -d ./data/RSCAT_L1B_V2.0 --extension hdf --start-date 2014-10-03T00:00:00Z --end-date 2014-11-03T00:00:00Z

The ISS-RapidScat Sigma-0 L1B and L2A Version 2.0 datasets are described and discoverable via the PO.DAAC data portal at:

  1. RSCAT_L1B_V2.0 (10.5067/RSCAT-L1B20
  2. RSCAT_L2A_12KM_V2.0 (10.5067/RSX12-L2A20
  3. RSCAT_L2A_25KM_V2.0 (10.5067/RSX25-L2A20)


Fore, A.G., Stiles, B.W., Chau, A.H., Williams, B.A., Dunbar, R. S., Rodriguez E., 2013: Point-wise Wind Retrieval and Ambiguity Removal Improvements for the QuikSCAT Climatological Data Set. IEEE Trans. Geoscience and Remote Sensing, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2012.2235843. [Special Note: This paper describes the wind retrieval algorithm used to process the QuikSCAT version 3 wind product. The RapidScat data was processed using the same technique.]

Comments/Questions? Please contact or visit the PO.DAAC on Earthdata Forum.