Polar Quick Guides

Single Band Quick Guides


Name Common Uses

Ocean and Microwave-related Products


Name Common Uses
NUCAPS Data from Infrared and Microwave sounders are used (CrIS and ATMS on NPP and NOAA-20 ; IASI and AMSU/MHS on Metop-A and Metop-B) to produce atmospheric soundings. The soundings are driven by satellite observations and are independent of any model.
Blended TPW Total precipitable water represents the liquid water equivalent if all the water vapor within a column of the atmosphere were 
Jason Significant Wave Height Jason Wave Heights are altimetric: the satellite detects its own height above the sea surface, to an accuracy of better than 3-1/2 cm.
Snowfall Rate This quick guide is a brief overview of the NESDIS snowfall rate (SFR) product which highlights the primary strengths and operational uses. 
MIRS Rain Rate A Quick Guide on the operational use of the MiRS Rain Rate product, comparing benefits and weaknesses with other precipitation data types. 
MIRS TPW This Quick Guide covers the operational use of MiRS Total Precipitable Water (TPW) for monitoring the evolution of moisture plumes in the atmosphere. Since this is a microwave product, moisture information includes the whole atmospheric column regardless of cloud cover.   
MIRS Sea Ice Concentration This quick guide provides information about operational uses of the MiRS Sea Ice Concentration product. Examples are shown that compare this product with other types of data used to monitor changes in sea ice.
GCOM AMSR-2 Sea Surface Temperatures GCOM AMSR-2 SST observes sea surface temperatures in clear-sky and cloudy conditions, excluding areas of precipitation and high winds.
GCOM AMSR-2 Winds GCOM is a polar-orbiting satellite that uses microwave data from AMSR-2 (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2) to infer wind speeds.
MIRS Snow Water Equivalent The Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) product from the Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MiRS) estimates the potential water content in the snow pack at the time of the satellite overpass.
MiRS Snow Cover MiRS Snow Cover is derived from the MIRS Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) product.. It is a binary field: Snow exists or it does not.
MiRS Skin Temperature This quick guide describes a MiRS product that estimates skin temperature. This product is available day and night in most weather conditions.


Ice Products


Name Common Uses
VIIRS Ice Surface Temperature VIIRS Ice Surface Temperature is the radiating, or “skin” temperature at the ice surface.
VIIRS Ice Concentration VIIRS Ice Concentration provides the fraction of an area that is covered by ice. 
VIIRS Ice Thickness and Age VIIRS Ice Thickness and Age estimates sea and lake ice thickness and age, which can distinguish between the following types of ice: nilas, grey white, first-year thin, first-year thick, second-year, multiyear smooth, and multiyear deformed ice.
VIIRS Snowmelt RGB VIIRS Snowmelt RGB is useful for identifying areas of freezing rain and sleet accumulation, as well as for hydrological applications, such as snowmelt-enhanced flood events.


Fire and Volcanic Ash Products


Name Common Uses
Day Land Cloud RGB The DayLandCloud RGB (also known as NaturalColor RGB) is shows items related to fires (e.g., burn scars, smoke, large fires), ice/liquid clouds, and land surfaces (e.g., marshlands, arid regions). 
Day Land Cloud Fire RGB Also called “Natural Fire Color”, this RGB combines three channels useful for fire monitoring. The 0.64 μm channel provides sensitivity to smoke, the 0.86 μm channel provides sensitivity to vegetation health and burn scars, and the 3.7 μm channel is sensitive to the hot spots from active fires.
VIIRS Active Fires The VIIRS-AF product provides information on thermal anomalies for each location across the globe at least twice a day. VIIRS-AF includes data on fire location, fire intensity, and ‘fire confidence’ (expressed in percentage), which can assist Incident METeorologists (IMETs) and deployed meteorologists in relation to operational response decisions.
Volcanic Ash The Volcanic Ash algorithm determines the location, height and mass loading properties for satellite pixels potentially containing volcanic ash.


Flood Products


Name Common Uses
VIIRS Flood Areal Extent Flood Areal Extent is a satellite based extent product where the flood extent is represented in floodwater fractions.


Nighttime Visible Product


Name Common Uses
Near Constant Contrast (NCC) The Near-Constant Contrast (NCC) is a derived product of the 0.7um Day/Night Band (DNB) that provides unique visible imagery at night.




Name Common Uses
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Winds Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Winds display surface wind speeds over bodies of water, providing forecasters remote wind data for Impact-based Decision Support Services (IDSS).