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Satellite Instrument Calibration for Measuring Global Climate Change



G Ohring, B Wielicki, R Spencer, W Emery, Raju V. Datla


Measuring the small changes associated with long-term global climate change from space is a daunting task. The satellite instruments must be capable of observing atmospheric temperature trends as small as 0.10 degrees C / decade, ozone changes as little as 1 %/decade, and variations in the sun s output as tiny as 0.1 % / decade. To address these problems and recommend directions for improvements in satellite instrument calibration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System-Integrated Program Office (NPOESS-IPO), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) organized a workshop at the University of Maryland Inn and Conference Center, College Park, MD, November 12-14, 2002. Some 75 scientists, including researchers who develop and analyze long-term data sets from satellites, experts in the field of satellite instrument calibration, and physicists working on state of the art calibration sources and standards, participated.The workshop defined the absolute accuracies and long-term stabilities of global climate data sets that are needed to detect expected trends, translated these data set accuracies and stabilities to required satellite instrument accuracies and stabilities, and evaluated the ability of current observing systems to meet these requirements. The workshop s recommendations include a set of basic axioms or overarching principles that must guide high quality climate observations in general, and a roadmap for improving satellite instrument characterization, calibration, inter-calibration, and associated activities to meet the challenge of measuring global climate change. It is also recommended that a follow-up workshop be conducted to discuss implementation of the roadmap developed at this workshop.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


absolute accuracy, calibration of satellite sensors, climate data record, global climate change observations, NPOESS, Small signals


Ohring, G. , Wielicki, B. , Spencer, R. , Emery, W. and Datla, R. (2021), Satellite Instrument Calibration for Measuring Global Climate Change, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 17, 2024)


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Created October 12, 2021