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Open AccessArticle

Ushering in the New Era of Radiometric Intercomparison of Multispectral Sensors with Precision SNO Analysis

by Mike Chu 1,* and Jennifer Dodd 2
1
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2019, 7(6), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7060081
Received: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate variability and change in the 21th Century)
A “nadir-only” framework of the radiometric intercomparison of multispectral sensors using simultaneous nadir overpasses (SNOs) is examined at the 1-km regimes and below using four polar-orbiting multispectral sensors: the twin MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in the Terra and Aqua satellites, the Visible Imaging Infrared Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) in the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite, and the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) in the Sentinel-3A satellite. The study is carried out in the context of isolating the on-orbit calibration of the reflective solar bands (RSBs) under the “nadir-only” restriction. With a homogeneity-ranked, sample size constrained procedure designed to minimize scene-based variability and noise, the overall approach successfully stabilizes the radiometric ratio and tightens the precision of each SNO-generated comparison event. Improvements to the multiyear comparison time series are demonstrated for different conditions of area size, sample size, and other refinements. The time series demonstrate the capability at 1% precision or better under general conditions but can attain as low as 0.2% in best cases. Solar zenith angle is examined not to be important in the “nadir-only” framework, but the spectral mismatch between two bands can give rise to significant yearly modulation in the comparison time series. A broad-scaled scene-based variability of ~2%, the “scaling phenomenon”, is shown to have pervasive presence in both northern and the southern polar regions to impact inter-RSB comparison. Finally, this paper highlights the multi-instrument cross-comparisons that are certain to take on a more important role in the coming era of high-performing multispectral instruments. View Full-Text
Keywords: VIIRS; MODIS; OLCI; RSB; SNPP; Terra; Aqua; Sentinel-3A; reflective solar bands; intersensor comparison; intercalibration; SNO VIIRS; MODIS; OLCI; RSB; SNPP; Terra; Aqua; Sentinel-3A; reflective solar bands; intersensor comparison; intercalibration; SNO
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Chu, M.; Dodd, J. Ushering in the New Era of Radiometric Intercomparison of Multispectral Sensors with Precision SNO Analysis. Climate 2019, 7, 81.

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