Remote Sensing Systems

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) is a scientific research company located in Northern California, specializing in satellite microwave remote sensing of the Earth. 

Established in 1974 by Frank J. Wentz, Remote Sensing Systems, presently, consists of a team of atmospheric, oceanic, and earth scientists and support personnel.

Remote Sensing Systems is a world leader in processing and analyzing microwave data from satellite microwave sensors. We specialize in algorithm development, instrument calibration, ocean product development, and product validation. We have worked with more than 30 satellite microwave radiometer, sounder, and scatterometer instruments over the past 40 years. Currently, we operationally produce satellite retrievals for SSMIS, AMSR2, WindSat, and ASCAT. The geophysical retrievals obtained from these sensors are made available in near-real-time (NRT) to the global scientific community and general public via FTP and this web site.

The microwave spectrum (1.4 to 89 GHz) is rich with information about the atmosphere (temperature, humidity, clouds, rain, etc), as well as the earth's surface (temperature, vegetation, roughness, moisture, etc). Since microwaves can penetrate clouds, surface characteristics can be measured from space even when clouds are present. Currently, RSS offers research quality products of sea surface temperature, wind speed and direction, water vapor, cloud liquid water, rain rate, sea surface salinity and air temperature at various heights in the atmosphere obtained from radiometer, sounder and scattterometer measurements. The data are intercalibrated and consistently processed to produce the best quality products for use in reasearch and climate study.

To support this work, Remote Sensing Systems maintains a flexible, modular set of software for performing simulations and calibration activities, to enhance the retrievals of geophysical parameters and to validate the retrieved data. Our algorithms, software, and programs operate using extensive databases of satellite measurements, in situ measurements, and general circulation model (GCM) and climate model output.

One of our greatest assets is Remote Sensing Systems' atmospheric radiative transfer model (RTM) for the ocean surface and intervening atmosphere. Our RTM has been continually refined for over 30 years and is arguably the most accurate model in the 1-100 GHz (microwave) spectrum for ocean observations. The ocean surface model components includes polarimetric wind speed and direction with dependencies on surface emissivity and scattering. The atmospheric components of our RTM rely on the most recent and relevant measurements of oxygen and vapor. The Remote Sensing Systems RTM has served as the basis for geophysical retrievals from the satellite microwave brightness temperatures, and comprehensive activities and validations over many decades attest to the accuracy of this RTM and derived ocean products.

As our planet's population grows, it becomes ever more critical to better understand our environment and the physical processes that govern our weather and climate. Remote Sensing Systems serves this need, providing research-quality satellite geophysical products for the study of weather and climate variability. We do not merely produce data. We also conduct science and produce the results that predict climate and reveal measurement trends.

Our research is supported by NASA, NOAA, and the NSF, with many of our researchers participating in NASA science research teams and working groups, collaborating with other fore-front industry leaders and the scientific community.

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