This module provides background information on microwave remote sensing with polar-orbiting satellites. It reviews coverage, orbits, and data latency issues of current operational and selected research satellites and notes improvements expected in the NPP and NPOESS era. The module contrasts active vs. passive remote sensing, discusses advantages and limitations of different microwave instrument scanning strategies, and addresses viewing geometry with implications for spatial resolution and swath coverage. Finally, it offers a review of the microwave spectrum and special characteristics of microwave energy important for understanding microwave imagery and derived products. This module takes about 1 hour to complete.
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