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The spectral window at L-band (1.413 GHz) is important for passive remote sensing of soil moisture and ocean salinity from space, parameters that are needed to understand the hydrological cycle and ocean circulation. At this frequency, radiation from celestial (mostly Galactic) sources is strong and, unlike the constant cosmic background, this radiation is spatially variable. This paper presents a modern radiometric map of the celestial sky at L-band and a solution for the problem of determining what portion of the sky is seen by a down-looking radiometer in orbit. The data for the radiometric map are derived from recent radio astronomy surveys and are presented as equivalent brightness temperature suitable for remote sensing applications. Examples using orbits and antennas representative of those contemplated for remote sensing of soil moisture and sea surface salinity from space are presented to illustrate the signal levels to be expected. Near the Galactic plane, the contribution can exceed several kelvin.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:42 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2004