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Advanced Satellite Calibration Standards

The NIST Greenhouse Gas Measurements Program supports several projects that enable precise and accurate calibration of satellite instruments and sensors. The program provides measurements and calibrations that have high accuracy, excellent comparability, and rigorous traceability to the International System of Units (SI).

Surface Temperature Measurement Validated Uncertainties, New Measurement Methods and 3D Microclimate Measurements – (A. Possolo, Information Technology Lab, and G. Strouse, Physical Measurement Lab) The objective is to quantify the measurement uncertainties of historical and current surface air temperature measurement. Understanding surface air temperature measurements relative to the SI is critical in assessing the uncertainty of climate change predictions, spatial distribution, and seasonal dependence.
Calibration of Earth-Viewing Satellite Sensors – (J. Rice, PML) Goal: to develop the metrology infrastructure to enable SI-traceable radiometric calibration ofsatellite sensors at uncertainty levels relevant for Earth climate monitoring. This includes advancing primary standards maintained at NIST, developing and disseminating calibration methods and tools, and transferring the NIST scale to calibration facilities involved with satellite calibration.
Advanced Reflectance/BRDF Standards for Surface and Atmospheric Albedo Measurements – (H. Patrick, PML) Goal: to facilitate the monitoring of atmospheric forces that affect climate through dissemination of the reflectance scale and improved capabilities for the characterization and theoretical understanding of reflective and scattering materials.
Surface and Exo-Atmospheric Solar Measurements – (T. Lucatorto, E. Shirley and H. Yoon, PML) Goal: to provide state-of-the-art high-accuracy radiometric standards and measurement capabilities from 2 nm to 2500 nm to improve the quantification of surface and exo-atmospheric solar radiation, the main drivers for the Earth's climate and weather.
Exo-atmospheric Standards for Satellite Sensor Calibration and Nighttime Aerosol Quantification – (S. Maxwell, PML) Goal: to establish the Moon and a set of reference stars as exo-atmospheric optical radiation standards for on-orbit calibration of satellite sensors used for climate monitoring. Atmospheric monitoring techniques developed can also be used to monitor nighttime aerosol loading.
Ocean Color Measurement – (C. Johnson, PML) Goal: to provide measurement support for ocean color remote sensing studies of the world's oceans, leading to a better understanding of their ecology and biogeochemistry and, in particular, their response to the increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2.
Microwave Remote Sensing – (D. Walker, PML) Goal: to develop and deploy SI-traceable brightness-temperature standards and metrology to support U.S. weather forecasting and climate science needs.
Advanced Microwave Radiometer Calibration – (J. Splett, ITL) Improve calibration methodologies for microwave radiometers, particularly those employed on small satellites (termed "nanosatellites" or "CubeSats").




Created December 16, 2014, Updated April 5, 2022