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Special Issue "The Needs and Path Toward an SI-Traceable Space-based Climate Observing System"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Engineering Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020) | Viewed by 22700

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bruce Wielicki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23666, USA
Interests: climate; clouds; radiation budget; satellite remote sensing
Dr. Greg Kopp
E-Mail
Guest Editor
University of Colorado/LASP, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
Interests: solar variability; climate influences; hyperspectral imaging; radiometry
Dr. Tim Hewison
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Eumetsat Allee 1, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
Interests: imager calibration; GSICS inter-calibration
Dr. Nigel Fox
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Middlesex TW11 0LW, UK
Interests: radiometry; remote sensing
Dr. Xiuqing Hu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Satellite Meteorological Center/China Meteorological Administration, No. 46 South Avenue Zhongguancun, Beijing 100081, China
Interests: calibration/validation; standard transfer; CDR

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent years have seen increasing urgency from international coordinating bodies such as CEOS, WMO- GSICS, GCOS, climate researchers, and policy makers for establishing a space-based climate observing system capable of unambiguously monitoring indicators of change in the Earth’s climate, as needed for international mitigation strategies such as the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. Such an observing system requires the combined and coordinated efforts of the world’s space agencies. In order to deliver data that can be considered unequivocal on decadal timescales, helping policy makers make decisions in a timely manner, requires improvements to heritage, existing, and in-development space assets. In particular, observations spanning the electromagnetic spectrum from the near-UV to microwave need to be of sufficient accuracy and duration, traceable to the International System of Units (SI), and sampled so as to ensure global representation in order to detect change in as short a time as possible. The harshness of the launch and the space environment has, to date, limited many satellite missions’ abilities to robustly demonstrate SI traceability on-orbit at the accuracy and confidence levels needed. An order of magnitude of improvement is typically required for robust climate observations.

Implementing such a higher-accuracy observing system also facilitates improvements to operational applications, particularly where data harmonization enables “information on-demand” for a wider range of applications, such as health, sustainable food supply, water resources, weather prediction, and pollution.

With articles from experts in space agencies, industry, academia, and policy making, the intent of this Special Issue is to present a community strategy on the benefits and consequential specifications of a space-based climate observing system along with a roadmap to implementation. Articles for this Special Issue are solicited on the following:

  • Societal need and economic benefits
  • Applications (climate-change observations; land, cloud, ice, ecosystem, atmosphere, and ocean measurements; and atmospheric chemistry) benefitting from higher-accuracy space-based observations
  • Reflected-solar observations (imagers, spectrometers, polarimeters, lunar irradiances, vicarious surface sites, and calibration methods)
  • Thermal infrared observations (imagers, spectrometers, and calibration methods)
  • Broadband radiation-budget measurements (solar irradiances, outgoing Earth-radiation measurements, and calibration methods)
  • Microwave, radio-occultation, radar, and lidar observations
  • Concepts to improve the global inter-calibration of space-based assets

Dr. Bruce Wielicki
Dr. Greg Kopp
Dr. Tim Hewison
Dr. Nigel Fox
Dr. Xiuqing Hu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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Article
Instrument Development: Chinese Radiometric Benchmark of Reflected Solar Band Based on Space Cryogenic Absolute Radiometer
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2856; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172856 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Low uncertainty and long-term stability remote data are urgently needed for researching climate and meteorology variability and trends. Meeting these requirements is difficult with in-orbit calibration accuracy due to the lack of radiometric satellite benchmark. The radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band [...] Read more.
Low uncertainty and long-term stability remote data are urgently needed for researching climate and meteorology variability and trends. Meeting these requirements is difficult with in-orbit calibration accuracy due to the lack of radiometric satellite benchmark. The radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band has been under development since 2015 to overcome the on-board traceability problem of hyperspectral remote sensing satellites. This paper introduces the development progress of the Chinese radiometric benchmark of the reflected solar band based on the Space Cryogenic Absolute Radiometer (SCAR). The goal of the SCAR is to calibrate the Earth–Moon Imaging Spectrometer (EMIS) on-satellite using the benchmark transfer chain (BTC) and to transfer the traceable radiometric scale to other remote sensors via cross-calibration. The SCAR, which is an electrical substitution absolute radiometer and works at 20 K, is used to realize highly accurate radiometry with an uncertainty level that is lower than 0.03%. The EMIS, which is used to measure the spectrum radiance on the reflected solar band, is designed to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio and polarization. The radiometric scale of the SCAR is converted and transferred to the EMIS by the BTC to improve the measurement accuracy and long-term stability. The payload of the radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band has been under development since 2018. The investigation results provide the theoretical and experimental basis for the development of the reflected solar band benchmark payload. It is important to improve the measurement accuracy and long-term stability of space remote sensing and provide key data for climate change and earth radiation studies. Full article
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Article
Preliminary Selection and Characterization of Pseudo-Invariant Calibration Sites in Northwest China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2517; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162517 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1319
Abstract
Pseudo-invariant calibration sites (PICS) have been used for the radiometric calibration and stability monitoring of satellite optical sensors. Several stable PICS, such as those in the Sahara Desert in North Africa, were selected for the vicarious calibration of earth remote sensing satellites. However, [...] Read more.
Pseudo-invariant calibration sites (PICS) have been used for the radiometric calibration and stability monitoring of satellite optical sensors. Several stable PICS, such as those in the Sahara Desert in North Africa, were selected for the vicarious calibration of earth remote sensing satellites. However, the selection procedure of PICSs in the whole of Northwest China has not been fully explored before. This paper presents a novel technique for selecting PICS in Northwest China by combined using the coefficient of variation (CV) and the iteratively reweighted multivariate alteration detection (IR-MAD) technique. IR-MAD, which calculates the differences between two multispectral N-band images from the same scene acquired at different times, is used to identify no-change pixels (NCPs) of the scene through one image pair. The NCPs from IR-MAD using the long-term data of FY-3 visible infrared radiometer (VIRR) and aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were aggregated into the contiguously stable sites. The traditional spatial uniformity and temporal stability from MODIS surface products were used to select the potential PICS. By combining the results of both methods, over thirty PICSs with a wider brightness range of the scene types were selected. To confirm and characterize these PICSs over Northwest China, Landsat operational land imager (OLI) high-spatial-resolution images were used to check the spatial uniformity of the selected site to determine the specific location and the size of these sites. Additionally, the surface spectral reflectance and bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) were obtained from the field campaign at Chaidamu Basin, 2018. To demonstrate the practical utilization and usability of these PICSs, they were employed in the multi-site top of atmosphere (TOA) reflectance simulation to validate the operational calibration performance of Aqua/MODIS and FY-3D/MERSI-II (Medium Resolution Spectral Imager II). The simulation results showed good consistency compared with the observations from both MODIS and MERSI-II, with a relative bias and root mean square error (RMSE) of <5% and <0.05%, respectively. These sites provide prospects for multi-site vicarious calibrations of solar reflective bands, which may help to evaluate or characterize instrumental nonlinear responses using a wider signal dynamic from the sites in different seasons. Full article
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Article
Development of the Chinese Space-Based Radiometric Benchmark Mission LIBRA
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(14), 2179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142179 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Climate observations and their applications require measurements with high stability and low uncertainty in order to detect and assess climate variability and trends. The difficulty with space-based observations is that it is generally not possible to trace them to standard calibration references when [...] Read more.
Climate observations and their applications require measurements with high stability and low uncertainty in order to detect and assess climate variability and trends. The difficulty with space-based observations is that it is generally not possible to trace them to standard calibration references when in orbit. In order to overcome this problem, it has been proposed to deploy space-based radiometric reference systems which intercalibrate measurements from multiple satellite platforms. Such reference systems have been strongly recommended by international expert teams. This paper describes the Chinese Space-based Radiometric Benchmark (CSRB) project which has been under development since 2014. The goal of CSRB is to launch a reference-type satellite named LIBRA in around 2025. We present the roadmap for CSRB as well as requirements and specifications for LIBRA. Key technologies of the system include miniature phase-change cells providing fixed-temperature points, a cryogenic absolute radiometer, and a spontaneous parametric down-conversion detector. LIBRA will offer measurements with SI traceability for the outgoing radiation from the Earth and the incoming radiation from the Sun with high spectral resolution. The system will be realized with four payloads, i.e., the Infrared Spectrometer (IRS), the Earth-Moon Imaging Spectrometer (EMIS), the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), and the Solar spectral Irradiance Traceable to Quantum benchmark (SITQ). An on-orbit mode for radiometric calibration traceability and a balloon-based demonstration system for LIBRA are introduced as well in the last part of this paper. As a complementary project to the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) and the Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies (TRUTHS), LIBRA is expected to join the Earth observation satellite constellation and intends to contribute to space-based climate studies via publicly available data. Full article
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Article
The Moon as a Climate-Quality Radiometric Calibration Reference
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111837 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
On-orbit calibration requirements for a space-based climate observing system include long-term sensor response stability and reliable inter-calibration of multiple sensors, both contemporaneous and in succession. The difficulties with achieving these for reflected solar wavelength instruments are well known. The Moon can be considered [...] Read more.
On-orbit calibration requirements for a space-based climate observing system include long-term sensor response stability and reliable inter-calibration of multiple sensors, both contemporaneous and in succession. The difficulties with achieving these for reflected solar wavelength instruments are well known. The Moon can be considered a diffuse reflector of sunlight, and its exceptional photometric stability has enabled development of a lunar radiometric reference, manifest as a model that is queried for the specific conditions of Moon observations. The lunar irradiance model developed by the Robotic Lunar Observatory (ROLO) project has adequate precision for sensor response temporal trending, but a climate-quality lunar reference will require at least an order of magnitude improvement in absolute accuracy. To redevelop the lunar calibration reference with sub-percent uncertainty and SI traceability requires collecting new, high-accuracy Moon characterization measurements. This paper describes specifications for such measurements, along with a conceptual framework for reconstructing the lunar reference using them. Three currently active NASA-sponsored projects have objectives to acquire measurements that can support a climate-quality lunar reference: air-LUSI, dedicated lunar spectral irradiance measurements from the NASA ER-2 high altitude aircraft; ARCSTONE, dedicated lunar spectral reflectance measurements from a small satellite; and Moon viewing opportunities by CLARREO Pathfinder from the International Space Station. Full article
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Article
SI-traceable Spectral Irradiance Radiometric Characterization and Absolute Calibration of the TSIS-1 Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM)
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1818; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111818 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
The current implementation for continuous, long-term solar spectral irradiance (SSI) monitoring is the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) that began operations from the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2018 and nominally provides an SSI spectrum every [...] Read more.
The current implementation for continuous, long-term solar spectral irradiance (SSI) monitoring is the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) that began operations from the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2018 and nominally provides an SSI spectrum every 12 h. Advances in both instrument design and spectral irradiance calibration techniques have resulted in the TSIS-1 SIM achieving higher absolute accuracy than its predecessor instrument in the wavelength range (200–2400 nm). A comprehensive detector-based Spectral Radiometer Facility (SRF) was developed in collaboration with the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure the ties to spectral SI standards in power and irradiance. Traceability is achieved via direct laser calibration of a focal plane electrical substitution radiometer (ESR) against a cryogenic radiometer in power and also irradiance responsivity via calibrated apertures. The SIM accuracy definition followed an absolute sensor approach based on a full radiometric measurement equation where component-level performance characterizations and calibrations were quantified with an associated uncertainty error budget and verified by independent measurements for each parameter. Unit-level characterizations were completed over the full operational envelope of external driving factors (e.g., pointing and temperature ranges) and were allowed for the independent parameterization of sub-assembly performance for expected operating conditions. Validation and final instrument end-to-end absolute calibration in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)-SRF achieved low combined standard uncertainty (uc < 0.25%, k = 1) in spectral irradiance. Full article
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Article
Uncertainty Analysis for RadCalNet Instrumented Test Sites Using the Baotou Sites BTCN and BSCN as Examples
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1696; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111696 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1724
Abstract
Vicarious calibration and validation techniques are important tools to ensure the long-term stability and inter-sensor consistency of satellite sensors making observations in the solar-reflective spectral domain. Automated test sites, which have continuous in situ monitoring of both ground reflectance and atmospheric conditions, can [...] Read more.
Vicarious calibration and validation techniques are important tools to ensure the long-term stability and inter-sensor consistency of satellite sensors making observations in the solar-reflective spectral domain. Automated test sites, which have continuous in situ monitoring of both ground reflectance and atmospheric conditions, can greatly increase the match-up possibilities for a wide range of space agency and commercial sensors. The Baotou calibration and validation test site in China provides operational high-accuracy and high-stability vicarious calibration and validation for high spatial resolution solar-reflective remote-sensing sensors. Two sites, given the abbreviations BTCN (an artificial site) and BSCN (a natural sandy site), have been selected as reference sites for the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites radiometric calibration network (RadCalNet). RadCalNet requires sites to provide data in a consistent format but does not specify the required operational conditions for a RadCalNet site. The two Baotou sites are the only sites to date that make spectral measurements for their continuous operation. One of the core principles of RadCalNet is that each site should have a metrologically rigorous uncertainty budget which also describes the site’s traceability to the international system of units, the SI. This paper shows a formalized metrological approach to determining and documenting the uncertainty budget and traceability of a RadCalNet site. This approach follows the Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement. The paper describes the uncertainty analysis for bottom-of-atmosphere and top-of-atmosphere reflectance in the spectral region from 400 to 1000 nm for the Baotou sites and gives preliminary results for the uncertainty propagating this to top-of-atmosphere reflectance. Full article
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Article
Assessment of New Satellite Missions within the Framework of Numerical Weather Prediction
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(10), 1580; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12101580 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1127
Abstract
Confidence in the use of Earth observations for monitoring essential climate variables (ECVs) relies on the validation of satellite calibration accuracy to within a well-defined uncertainty. The gap analysis for integrated atmospheric ECV climate monitoring (GAIA-CLIM) project investigated the calibration/validation of satellite data [...] Read more.
Confidence in the use of Earth observations for monitoring essential climate variables (ECVs) relies on the validation of satellite calibration accuracy to within a well-defined uncertainty. The gap analysis for integrated atmospheric ECV climate monitoring (GAIA-CLIM) project investigated the calibration/validation of satellite data sets using non-satellite reference data. Here, we explore the role of numerical weather prediction (NWP) frameworks for the assessment of several meteorological satellite sensors: the advanced microwave scanning radiometer 2 (AMSR2), microwave humidity sounder-2 (MWHS-2), microwave radiation imager (MWRI), and global precipitation measurement (GPM) microwave imager (GMI). We find departures (observation-model differences) are sensitive to instrument calibration artefacts. Uncertainty in surface emission is identified as a key gap in our ability to validate microwave imagers quantitatively in NWP. The prospects for NWP-based validation of future instruments are considered, taking as examples the microwave sounder (MWS) and infrared atmospheric sounding interferometer-next generation (IASI-NG) on the next generation of European polar-orbiting satellites. Through comparisons with reference radiosondes, uncertainties in NWP fields can be estimated in terms of equivalent top-of-atmosphere brightness temperature. We find NWP-sonde differences are consistent with a total combined uncertainty of 0.15 K for selected temperature sounding channels, while uncertainties for humidity sounding channels typically exceed 1 K. Full article
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Article
SI Traceable Solar Spectral Irradiance Measurement Based on a Quantum Benchmark: A Prototype Design
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(9), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12091454 - 04 May 2020
Viewed by 970
Abstract
We propose a space benchmark sensor with onboard SI (Système International) traceability by means of quantum optical radiometry. Correlated photon pairs generated by spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) in nonlinear crystals are used to calibrate the absolute responsivity of a solar observing radiometer. The [...] Read more.
We propose a space benchmark sensor with onboard SI (Système International) traceability by means of quantum optical radiometry. Correlated photon pairs generated by spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) in nonlinear crystals are used to calibrate the absolute responsivity of a solar observing radiometer. The calibration is systematic, insensitive to degradation and independent of external radiometric standards. Solar spectral irradiance at 380–2500 nm is traceable to the photon rate and Planck’s constant with an expected uncertainty of about 0.35%. The principle of SPDC calibration and a prototype design of the solar radiometer are introduced. The uncertainty budget is analyzed in consideration of errors arising from calibration and observation modes. Full article
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Article
SI-Traceability and Measurement Uncertainty of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Version 5 Level 1B Radiances
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(8), 1338; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12081338 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1475
Abstract
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the EOS Aqua Spacecraft was launched on 4 May 2002. The AIRS is designed to measure atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles and has demonstrated exceptional radiometric and spectral accuracy and stability in orbit. The International System [...] Read more.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the EOS Aqua Spacecraft was launched on 4 May 2002. The AIRS is designed to measure atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles and has demonstrated exceptional radiometric and spectral accuracy and stability in orbit. The International System of Units (SI)-traceability of the derived radiances is achieved by transferring the calibration from the Large Area Blackbody (LABB) with SI traceable temperature sensors, to the On-Board Calibrator (OBC) blackbody during preflight testing. The AIRS views the OBC blackbody and four full aperture space views every scan. A recent analysis of pre-flight and on-board data has improved our understanding of the measurement uncertainty of the Version 5 AIRS L1B radiance product. For temperatures greater than 260 K, the measurement uncertainty is better than 250 mK 1-sigma for most channels. SI-traceability and quantification of the radiometric measurement uncertainty is critical to reducing biases in reanalysis products and radiative transfer models (RTMs) that use AIRS data, as well as establishing the suitability of AIRS as a benchmark for radiances established in the early 2000s. Full article
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Article
A Study of Lunar Microwave Radiation Based on Satellite Observations
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(7), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071129 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1242
Abstract
In recent years, the study of microwave radiation from the Moon’s surface has been of interest to the astronomy and remote sensing communities. Due to the stable geophysical properties of the Moon’s surface, microwave lunar radiation is highly predictable and can be accurately [...] Read more.
In recent years, the study of microwave radiation from the Moon’s surface has been of interest to the astronomy and remote sensing communities. Due to the stable geophysical properties of the Moon’s surface, microwave lunar radiation is highly predictable and can be accurately modeled, given sufficient observations from reliable instruments. Specifically, for microwave remote sensing study, if International System of Unit (SI) traceable observations of the Moon are available, the Moon can thus be used as an SI traceable calibration reference for microwave instruments to evaluate their calibration accuracies and assess their long-term calibration stabilities. Major challenges of using the Moon as a radiometric source standard for microwave sensors include the uncertainties in antenna pattern measurements, the reliability of measurements of brightness temperature (Tb) in the microwave spectrum of the lunar surface, and knowledge of the lunar phase lag because of penetration depths at different detection frequencies. Most microwave-sounding instruments can collect lunar radiation data from space-view observations during so-called lunar intrusion events that usually occur several days each month. Addressed in this work based on Moon observations from the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit/Microwave Humidity Sounder are two major issues in lunar calibration: the lunar surface microwave Tb spectrum and phase lag. The scientific objective of this study is to present our most recent progress on the study of lunar microwave radiation based on satellite observations. Reported here are the lunar microwave Tb spectrum and phase lag from 23 to 183 GHz based on observations of microwave-sounding instruments onboard different satellite platforms. For current Moon microwave radiation research, this study can help toward better understanding lunar microwave radiation features over a wide spectrum range, laying a solid foundation for future lunar microwave calibration efforts. Full article
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Article
Assessment of the Hyperspectral Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (HIRAS)
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(24), 2950; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11242950 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1510
Abstract
The hyperspectral infrared atmospheric sounder (HIRAS), the first Chinese hyperspectral infrared instrument, was launched in 2017 on board the fourth polar orbiter of the Feng Yun 3 series, FY-3D. The instrument is a Fourier transform spectrometer with 2275 channels covering three spectral bands [...] Read more.
The hyperspectral infrared atmospheric sounder (HIRAS), the first Chinese hyperspectral infrared instrument, was launched in 2017 on board the fourth polar orbiter of the Feng Yun 3 series, FY-3D. The instrument is a Fourier transform spectrometer with 2275 channels covering three spectral bands (650–1136, 1210–1750, and 2155–2550 cm−1) with 0.625 cm−1 spectral resolution. The first data quality assessment of HIRAS observations at full and normal spectral resolutions is presented. Comparisons with short-range forecasts from the Met Office numerical weather prediction (NWP) global system have revealed biases (standard deviation) generally less than 2.6 K (2 K) in the spectral regions mostly unaffected by trace gases where the confidence in the NWP model is largest. Of particular concern, HIRAS detector 3 seems to suffer from sunlight contamination of its calibration towards the end of the descending node. This, together with an obstruction of the detector field of view by an element of the platform, results in accentuated bias and noise in the observations from this detector. At normal spectral resolution, a background departure double difference analysis has been conducted between HIRAS and the NOAA-20 crosstrack infrared sounder (CrIS). The results show that HIRAS and CrIS are in good agreement with a mean difference across the three bands of −0.05 K (±0.26 K at 1σ) and 75.2% of the channels within CrIS radiometric uncertainty, noting though that HIRAS is noisier than CrIS with, on average, a standard deviation 0.34 K larger. Full article
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Review

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Review
MODIS and VIIRS Calibration History and Future Outlook
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2523; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162523 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1429
Abstract
The MODIS is a key instrument for NASA’s EOS program, currently operated onboard the Terra and Aqua spacecraft launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively. The VIIRS is a MODIS follow-on instrument for the JPSS program. Adding to the ones operated onboard the S-NPP [...] Read more.
The MODIS is a key instrument for NASA’s EOS program, currently operated onboard the Terra and Aqua spacecraft launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively. The VIIRS is a MODIS follow-on instrument for the JPSS program. Adding to the ones operated onboard the S-NPP and NOAA-20 satellites launched in 2011 and 2017, respectively, three nearly identical VIIRS instruments will also be launched. This will enable the data records from MODIS and VIIRS to be extended beyond 2040. In addition to various applications and scientific studies of the Earth’s system, long-term data records from MODIS and VIIRS observations will greatly benefit the space-based climate observing system. This is attributed to the high-quality measurements and extensive calibration efforts, from pre-launch to post-launch. This paper provides an overview of MODIS and VIIRS calibration history and approaches applied to establish and maintain sensor calibration traceability and accuracy. It illustrates calibration and performance issues through different phases of the mission using examples derived from ground testing equipment, on-board calibrators, and other calibration targets. Moreover, discussed in this paper are outstanding challenges and future efforts to maintain and improve sensor calibration stability and long-term data quality, and to better support the space-based climate observing system. Full article
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Review
The Infrared Absolute Radiance Interferometer (ARI) for CLARREO
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(12), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12121915 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1722
Abstract
The Absolute Radiance Interferometer (ARI) is an infrared spectrometer designed to serve as an on-orbit radiometric reference with the ultra-high accuracy (better than 0.1 K 3‑σ or k = 3 brightness temperature at scene brightness temperature) needed to optimize measurement of the long-term [...] Read more.
The Absolute Radiance Interferometer (ARI) is an infrared spectrometer designed to serve as an on-orbit radiometric reference with the ultra-high accuracy (better than 0.1 K 3‑σ or k = 3 brightness temperature at scene brightness temperature) needed to optimize measurement of the long-term changes of Earth’s atmosphere and surface. If flown in an orbit that frequently crosses sun-synchronous orbits, ARI could be used to inter-calibrate the international fleet of infrared (IR) hyperspectral sounders to similar measurement accuracy, thereby establishing an observing system capable of achieving sampling biases on high-information-content spectral radiance products that are also < 0.1 K 3‑σ. It has been shown that such a climate observing system with <0.1 K 2‑σ overall accuracy would make it possible to realize times to detect subtle trends of temperature and water vapor distributions that closely match those of an ideal system, given the limit set by the natural variability of the atmosphere. This paper presents the ARI sensor's overall design, the new technologies developed to allow on-orbit verification and test of its accuracy, and the laboratory results that demonstrate its capability. In addition, we describe the techniques and uncertainty estimates for transferring ARI accuracy to operational sounders, providing economical global coverage. Societal challenges posed by climate change suggest that a Pathfinder ARI should be deployed as soon as possible. Full article
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Other

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Technical Note
Comparison of the Lunar Models Using the Hyper-Spectral Imager Observations in Lijiang, China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1878; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111878 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
A lunar observation campaign was conducted using a hyper-spectral imaging spectrometer in Lijiang, China from December 2015 to February 2016. The lunar hyper-spectral images in the visible to near-infrared region (VNIR) have been obtained in different lunar phases with absolute scale established by [...] Read more.
A lunar observation campaign was conducted using a hyper-spectral imaging spectrometer in Lijiang, China from December 2015 to February 2016. The lunar hyper-spectral images in the visible to near-infrared region (VNIR) have been obtained in different lunar phases with absolute scale established by the National Institute of Metrology (NIM), China using the lamp–plate calibration system. At the same time, the aerosol optical depth (AOD) is measured regularly by a lidar and a lunar CE318U for atmospheric characterization to provide nightly atmosphere extinction correction of lunar observations. This paper addressed the complicated data processing procedure in detail from raw images of the spectrometer into the spectral lunar irradiance in different lunar phases. The result of measurement shows that the imaging spectrometer can provide lunar irradiance with uncertainties less than 3.30% except for absorption bands. Except for strong atmosphere absorption region, the mean spectral irradiance difference between the measured irradiance and the ROLO (Robotic Lunar Observatory) model is 8.6 ± 2% over the course of the lunar observation mission. The ROLO model performs more reliable to clarify absolute and relative accuracy of lunar irradiance than that of the MT2009 model in different Sun–Moon–Earth geometry. The spectral ratio analysis of lunar irradiance shows that band-to-band variability in the ROLO model is consistent within 2%, and the consistency of the models in the lunar phase and spectrum is well analyzed and evaluated from phase dependence and phase reddening analysis respectively. Full article
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Letter
Challenges for In-Flight Calibration of Thermal Infrared Instruments for Earth Observation
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111832 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Satellite instruments operating in the thermal infrared wavelength range >3 µm provide information for applications such as land surface temperature (LST), sea surface temperatures (SST), land surface emissivity, land classification, soil composition, volcanology, fire radiative power, cloud masking, aerosols, and trace gases. All [...] Read more.
Satellite instruments operating in the thermal infrared wavelength range >3 µm provide information for applications such as land surface temperature (LST), sea surface temperatures (SST), land surface emissivity, land classification, soil composition, volcanology, fire radiative power, cloud masking, aerosols, and trace gases. All these instruments are dependent on blackbody (BB) calibration sources to provide the traceability of the radiometric calibration to SI (Système International d’Unités). A key issue for flight BB sources is to maintain the traceability of the radiometric calibration from ground to orbit. For example, the temperature of the BB is measured by a number of precision thermometers that are calibrated against a reference Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer (SPRT) to provide the traceability to the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90). However, once calibrated the thermometer system is subject to drifts caused by on-ground testing, the launch and space environments. At best the uncertainties due to thermometer ageing can only be estimated as there is no direct method for recalibrating. Comparisons with other satellite sensors are useful for placing an upper limit on calibration drifts but do not themselves provide a traceable link to the SI. In this paper, we describe we describe some of the technology developments, including phase change cells for use as reference standards, thermometer readout electronics and implementation of novel coatings, that are in progress to enhance the traceability of flight calibration systems in the thermal infrared. Full article
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Concept Paper
Extending the Global Space-Based Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) to Tie Satellite Radiances to an Absolute Scale
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1782; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111782 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
The Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) routinely monitors the calibration of various channels of Earth-observing satellite instruments and generates GSICS Corrections, which are functions that can be applied to tie them to reference instruments. For the infrared channels of geostationary imagers GSICS [...] Read more.
The Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) routinely monitors the calibration of various channels of Earth-observing satellite instruments and generates GSICS Corrections, which are functions that can be applied to tie them to reference instruments. For the infrared channels of geostationary imagers GSICS algorithms are based on comparisons of collocated observations with hyperspectral reference instruments; whereas Pseudo Invariant Calibration Targets are currently used to compare the counterpart channels in the reflected solar band to multispectral reference sensors. This paper discusses how GSICS products derived from both approaches can be tied to an absolute scale using specialized satellite reference instruments with SI-traceable calibration on orbit. This would provide resilience against gaps between reference instruments and drifts in their calibration outside their overlap period and allow construction of robust and harmonized data records from multiple satellite sources to build Fundamental Climate Data Records, as well as more uniform environmental retrievals in both space and time, thus improving inter-operability. Full article
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Concept Paper
Climate-Quality Calibration for Low Earth-Orbit Microwave Radiometry
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(2), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12020241 - 10 Jan 2020
Viewed by 950
Abstract
Improvements in radiometric calibration are needed to achieve the desired accuracy and stability of satellite-based microwave-radiometer observations intended for the production of climate data records. Linearity, stability and traceability of measurements to an SI-unit standard should be emphasized. We suggest radiometer design approaches [...] Read more.
Improvements in radiometric calibration are needed to achieve the desired accuracy and stability of satellite-based microwave-radiometer observations intended for the production of climate data records. Linearity, stability and traceability of measurements to an SI-unit standard should be emphasized. We suggest radiometer design approaches to achieve these objectives in a microwave calibration-reference instrument. Multi-year stability would be verified by comparison to radio-occultation measurements. Data from such an instrument could be used for climate studies and also to transfer its calibration to weather-satellite instruments. With the suitable selection of an orbit, a climatology of the diurnal variation in the measured parameters could be compiled, which would reduce uncertainties in climate trends inferred from earlier microwave radiometers over past decades. Full article
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