Optimum Image Formation for Spaceborne Microwave Radiometer Products

IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens. 2016 May;54(5):2763-2779. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2015.2505677. Epub 2015 Dec 25.


This paper considers some of the issues of radiometer brightness image formation and reconstruction for use in the NASA-sponsored Calibrated Passive Microwave Daily Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid 2.0 Brightness Temperature Earth System Data Record project, which generates a multisensor multidecadal time series of high-resolution radiometer products designed to support climate studies. Two primary reconstruction algorithms are considered: the Backus-Gilbert approach and the radiometer form of the scatterometer image reconstruction (SIR) algorithm. These are compared with the conventional drop-in-the-bucket (DIB) gridded image formation approach. Tradeoff study results for the various algorithm options are presented to select optimum values for the grid resolution, the number of SIR iterations, and the BG gamma parameter. We find that although both approaches are effective in improving the spatial resolution of the surface brightness temperature estimates compared to DIB, SIR requires significantly less computation. The sensitivity of the reconstruction to the accuracy of the measurement spatial response function (MRF) is explored. The partial reconstruction of the methods can tolerate errors in the description of the sensor measurement response function, which simplifies the processing of historic sensor data for which the MRF is not known as well as modern sensors. Simulation tradeoff results are confirmed using actual data.

Keywords: Brightness temperature; Earth system data record; climate data record; passive microwave remote sensing; radiometer; reconstruction; sampling; variable aperture.