Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C) Topics

Topics List

Feb. 18, 2020 Updated
Massive bushfires in Australia seen from Space

Australia has naturally faced many droughts and bushfires, but conditions have been unusually severe this time. Sometime around September 2019, the bushfires continuously occurred around the state of New South Wales in southeast Australia. The fires had been spreading on a larger scale, and a number of massive fires had merged into a "Mega Fire" that was out of control. The fires are unlikely to end entirely even at the end of January 2020.

Figure 1 (left) Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) in Australia calculated by GSMaP precipitation amount in a month (December 2019), (right)SPI calculated by GSMaP precipitation amount in three months (October-December 2019) in a same way. The relations between SPI value, the range of drought and frequency of phenomenon were classified by WMO (2012). In case SPI value becomes "-1.5 to -1.99", it indicates the situation of "Severe dryness" which happens "once in 20 years". In case SPI value becomes less than -2.0, it corresponds "Extreme dryness" which happens "once in 50 years". These condition shows the possibility of severe drought occurrence which leads to a big social impact.

Mar. 1, 2019 Updated
New Dataset Release: GCOM-C/SGLI

JAXA GCOM-C (Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI") satellite was launched on Dec. 23rd, 2017 to conduct long-term and continuous global observations in order to elucidate the global warming mechanisms related to fluctuations in radiation budget and/or carbon cycles etc.

The onboard sensor SGLI (Second Generation Global Imager) can observe 19 bands of radiations from near-ultraviolet to thermal infrared region (380 nm-12 µm), which yield various physical properties related to cloud, water, snow, ice, aerosol, sea, land, vegetation, biomass, chlorophyll a, and photosynthesis. The spatial resolution and swath of SGLI are 250m and greater than 1,000 km respectively and the whole globe can be scanned approximately in every two days.

SGLI can observe 15 Essential Climate Variables (ECV) such as cloud, aerosols, vegetation, etc. and its data are expected to contribute to improve the projection accuracy of climate change and also to predict fishing grounds, yellow sands, red tides, etc.

The released products can be downloaded via JAXA G-Portal ( )

Contact Point: JAXA G-portal help desk:mailaddress

1. Events after the launch

The data was released as scheduled according to the following operations.
December 23, 2017Launch of GCOM-C (SHIKISAI)
January 1, 2018 Obtained First Light images
March 28, 2018 Started initial calibration and validation operations
December14, 2018Completed initial calibration and validation operations

2. The overview of Initial calibration and validation operations

To detect tiny climate change signals, higher accuracy products are needed. JAXA performed calibration with GCOM-C function using solar light, internal lamps, black body, lunar light and others, and compared (calibration and validation) GCOM-C observation value with ground observation data acquired in cooperation with ground observation networks (Skynet, AERONET and AsiaFlux) and collaborating research institutes (universities, Meteorological Research Institute, JAMSTEC and NOAA). As a result of the calibration, JAXA confirmed that the accuracy of 29 types of products covering land, atmosphere, ocean and cryosphere is attained to start data utilization.

3. GCOM-C/SGCLI Standard Products


Further information for the definition of the product and sample data is available at;

1) Chlorophyll-a Concentration


Global chlorophyll-a concentration (average of October 2018)

2) Aerosols


Polarization radiance at 867nm (average from August 11 to 20, 2018)

3) Global vegetation index (NDVI)

The image is a map of global normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from SGLI observation data acquired during January 1st to 9th 2018. NDVI becomes high at active vegetation with high density, indicating the spatial distribution of vegetation on the global scale.


Oct. 15, 2018 Updated
Sample Data of GCOM-C Standard Product Available on G-Portal

Launched on December 23, 2017 from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center, Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) entered and completed its in-orbit checkout phase, during which the science instruments and satellite systems are evaluated. The in-orbit checkout mission was through by March 2018, ensuring the product verification.
The sample data of the GCOM-C standard product is now available on JAXA’s global portal system. (G-Portal) The data is yet to be validated, so the physical quantities are in the process of refining.
The GCOM-C data product will be released in December 2018.

Sample Data of GCOM-C Standard Product Available on G-Portal

Jul. 3, 2018 Updated
Introduction to Polarization observation and Near Ultraviolet observation by SGLI

The Second Generation Global Imager (SGLI) instrument aboard the JAXA satellite Global Change Observation Mission-Climate (GCOM-C) is an optical sensor capable of observations at wavelengths ranging from near ultraviolet to thermal infrared (380nm to 12µm). SGLI can observe the polarization state of light in red and near infrared band by switching to directional angles from +45deg (forward) and -45deg (backward). Polarization measurement can provide the properties of light including the oscillation direction of electromagnetic waves, in addition to the magnitude of light.

Polarization observation and near ultraviolet (380nm) observation by SGLI expected to characterize aerosols (fine particles in atmosphere) on Earth's land surface more accurately. In the visible-near infrared spectra, the surface reflectance is high over land. Vegetation and land cover affect the space based measurement, resulting in varied readings. Identifying types of aerosol over land only at these wavelengths is therefore hampered by difficulties.

However, in the SGLI ultraviolet wavelength regions, the reflectance of the Earth’s land is significantly lower. In addition, polarization observation is less susceptible to the reflection of sunlight from Earth's surface compared with unpolarization observation. These features are expected to improve the accuracy of the measurement for aerosols over land, by enabling to detect the properties of the fine particles of the atmosphere.


Colored image above China captured by GCOM-C on March 23, 2018 (R: VN08, G: VN05, B: VN03) VN08: Red reflectance, VN01: Near ultraviolet reflectance, and PL02: Near infrared reflectance

Jan. 12, 2018 Updated
SHIKISAI Observation Data Acquired by SGLI

JAXA has released some observation images on the Earth acquired by the Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C). The SHIKISAI was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10:26:22 on December 23, 2017 (Japan Standard Time). These images are obtained by using the test radio wave transmitted from GCOM-C/SGLI on January 1st to 6th, 2018 (JST).
Image: Color composite image around the Okhotsk Sea Ice

SHIKISAI Observation Data Acquired by SGLI

Dec. 24, 2017 Updated
SHIKISAI and TSUBAME critical operation phase successfully completed! Initial function verification starts!

JAXA received telemetry data from SHIKISAI and TSUBAME, confirming that their satellite attitude control system had transitioned to the steady state. Current status of both satellites is stable.
Subsequently, the following procedure occurred - power generation that supports the satellites’ operation by the deployed solar array wings, ground communications and sound attitude control that maintains those operations. Combined by the completion of the series of other operations, such as powering up of the bus and mission equipment, the satellites have entered the state where they can be sustained in orbit. This concludes their critical operations phase.
SHIKISAI and TSUBAME will take about three months to verify the function of its onboard equipment and instruments in space.

SHIKISAI and TSUBAME critical operation phase successfully completed! Initial function verification starts!

Dec. 23, 2017 Updated
SHIKISAI Solar Array Deployment – Images

The reception of telemetry data from JAXA's SHIKISAI satellite was made at 10:44 a.m. at the JAXA Mingenew Station, Australia, confirming SHIKISAI’s solar array deployment above Australia.

Images Captured by the SHIKISAI onboard Cameras Following Solar Array Deployment

Solar array paddle 1 (Plus Y Side)

Solar array paddle 2 (Minus Y Side)

SHIKISAI Solar Arrays before Deployment in Computer Graphics

Image – Viewing Angle of SHIKISAI onboard Cameras

SHIKISAI Solar Array Deployment – Images

Dec. 23, 2017 Updated
Successful Launch, H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 Encapsulating SHIKISAI and TSUBAME

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 with the Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C) and the Super Low Altitude Test Satellite "TSUBAME" (SLATS) onboard lifted off at 10:26:22 a.m. on December 23, 2017 (Japan Standard Time) from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The launch and flight of H-IIA F37 proceeded as planned. So did the separation of SHIKISAI and TSUBAME, which was confirmed respectively at approximately 16 minutes and 13 seconds and 1 hour and 47 minutes 59 seconds after liftoff.

Successful Launch, H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 Encapsulating SHIKISAI and TSUBAME

Oct. 27, 2017 Updated
H-IIA F37 with SHIKISAI/TSUBAME onboard to be launched on December 23

The launch schedule of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 (H-IIA F37) has been decided to be between 10:26:22 thru 10:48:22 a.m. on December 23 (Sat), 2017 (Japan Standard time). The launch will be performed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JAXA.
H-IIA Launch vehicle No. 37 incorporates JAXA's newly developed outcome to insert SHIKISAI and TSUBAME into different orbit altitude respectively. It will expand opportunities of multiple satellite launch and take full advantage of the capability of H-IIA.

H-IIA F37 with SHIKISAI/TSUBAME onboard to be launched on December 23

Jul. 14, 2017 Updated

JAXA had the public come up with an excellent nickname for the Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) for almost a month. The GCOM-C nickname project was couple with SLAT’s. The project was met with quite a response – 12,895 applications. As a result of careful examination, SHIKISAI, meaning colors in Japanese was chosen.
JAXA appreciates all for positive participation.
SHIKISAI most appropriately describes the GCOM-C features – the onboard Second-Generation Global Imager (SGLI) captures a broad spectrum of objects, including flourishing vegetation, deep blue oceans, and crystal sea ice on our color-filled planet.
Updates on the SHIKISAI missions are available on this website. JAXA appreciates continuous support by all.


May 26, 2017 Updated
GCOM-C Completes Environmental Testing

JAXA’s GCOM-C satellite, Global Change Observation Mission – Climate, to be launched in Japanese fiscal 2017, undergoes environmental testing at the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center. Environmental Test flow includes sinusoidal vibration and acoustics, which JAXA collectively calls mechanical and environmental testing. The testing, which aims at ensuring that the satellite will endure rigorous shock and sound pressure during ascent, was conducted in March and April, 2017 (Image) and came to successful completion.

GCOM-C is entering electrical testing, which will determine if the satellite systems, after being subjected to environmental testing, operate properly.

GCOM-C Completes Environmental Testing

Dec. 26, 2014 Updated
Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) mission logo

A mission logo for the Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) has been selected. GCOM-C is a satellite mission to clarify the climate change mechanism such as global warming, as well as to monitor the status of flying yellow sand, and to observe ocean plankton to estimate fishing points by acquiring various data on the Earth that is considered to have an impact on climate change.
The design of the GCOM-C mission logo is a simplified drawing of clouds, dust in the atmosphere (aerosols), vegetation (forests), snow ice, and ocean. The evergreen color, which is a traditional Japanese color, was selected for the basic color of the logo. The color shows our desire that the mission will constantly thrive for a long time like leave colors of evergreen trees such as Japanese pines and cedars.
GCOM-C is under development to be ready for launch in JFY 2016.

Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) mission logo

Jul. 11, 2011 Updated
GCOM-C1 structural model sinusoidal vibration test

JAXA conducted a sinusoidal vibration test for the GCOM-C1 using a structural model. This test using simulated vibrations verifies if the satellite’s structure and onboard equipment can bear sinusoidal vibrations, which are generated at the time of launch. The test was successful, and we confirmed that the satellite is strong enough. The structural model is a mechanically mocked satellite for verifying the tolerance of the satellite’s main body and onboard equipment not only against sinusoidal vibrations at the time of launch, but also against other factors including the acoustic environment, shock at the time of separation from the launch vehicle, and impact of the solar array paddle deployment.

GCOM-C1 structural model sinusoidal vibration test

Mar. 10, 2010 Updated
Symposium of "Expectations to the Climate Change Monitoring using Earth Observation Satellites"

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is holding a symposium titled "Expectations for Climate Change Monitoring using Earth Observation Satellites" on April 15, (Thursday) 2010, at the Hotel Pacific Tokyo.
Earth observation satellites have been playing an important role in monitoring climate change, and international cooperation is imperative for global-scale monitoring as a multiple number of satellites and various kinds of onboard observation sensors are required to cover the globe. JAXA has been planning to fulfill its international responsibilities for its satellites including the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite "IBUKI" (GOSAT) and the Global Changing Observation Mission (GCOM).
At the symposium, representatives of space and meteorological organizations from all over the world will introduce their climate change monitoring initiatives by earth observation satellites, then explain how their activities have been promoted through international cooperation. We will also discuss future prospects for international collaboration. We are looking forward to your participation.

Jan. 9, 2010 Updated
Global Change Observation Mission 2nd Research Announcement

As the second Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM) research announcements (RA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announces the opportunity to conduct "development of retrieval algorithms for geophysical products", "fundamental data acquisition and validation preparation", and "application research directly connecting to the GCOM-C1 data".