Geography 376  

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)

Each DMSP satellite monitors the atmospheric, oceanographic and solar-geophysical environment of the Earth. The visible and infrared sensors collect images of global cloud distribution across a 3,000 km swath during both daytime and nighttime conditions. The coverage of the microwave imager and sounders are one-half the visible and infrared sensors coverage, thus they cover the polar regions above 60 on a twice daily basis but the equatorial region on a daily basis. The space environmental sensors record along track plasma densities, velocities, composition and drifts.

Altitude Equator Crossing Repeat Coverage Sensors
DMSP F-series


830 km

5:36 a.m.

10:52 a.m.

1 - 3 days

Operational Line Scanner (OLS)

Visible and infrared (IR) imagery from DMSP Operational Linescan System (OLS) instruments are used to monitor the global distribution of clouds and cloud top temperatures twice each day during day time and night time.

Visible/ Near IR

Thermal IR


 DMSP F13 OLS Imagery

Monday, June 1 1998, 10:55:06

  The DMSP-OLS has the unique capability to observe faint sources of visible-near infrared emissions present at the Earth's surface, including cities, towns, villages, gas flares, and fires.

Special Sensor Microwave / Imager (SSM/I)

The SSM/I is a seven-channel, four frequency, linearly-polarized, passive microwave radiometric system used to obtain synoptic maps of critical atmospheric, oceanographic and selected land parameters on a global scale.

SSM/I Brightness Temperatures (March 2, 1993)





Useful Links:

NOAA National Geophysical Data Center

Back to Earth Observation Satellites Page

Back to Geography 376 Course Schedule

Revised: 08.11.2001
Copyright © Joseph M. Piwowar