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Progress Towards a NIST Microwave Brightness Temperature Standard for Remote Sensing



Derek A. Houtz, Dave K. Walker, Dazhen Gu


We discuss developments at NIST towards improving the passive microwave brightness temperature standard. By reducing uncertainty we can provide a better calibration for improved congruency between future weather and climate monitoring radiometers. We discuss the calibration procedure, measured data, and various theoretical and simulated results that have led to improved understanding of the uncertainty contributions in the measurement. We overview a Monte Carlo simulation to determine minimum achievable uncertainty, an electromagnetic coherence analysis that helps to determine optimal measurement distance, and we will touch on other improvements in the works including an improved blackbody design. The achievable calibration source brightness temperature uncertainty is expected to be reduced from the current 0.7 to 1.0 K from 18 to 65 GHz to less than 0.3 K.
Conference Dates
December 2-5, 2014
Conference Location
Boulder, CO
Conference Title
ARFTG 84th Microwave Measurement Conference


remote sensing, blackbody, passive microwave, calibration, traceability


Houtz, D. , Walker, D. and Gu, D. (2014), Progress Towards a NIST Microwave Brightness Temperature Standard for Remote Sensing, ARFTG 84th Microwave Measurement Conference, Boulder, CO, [online], (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created December 4, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018