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Uncertainty Analysis of Remote Sensing Optical Sensor Data Guiding Principles to Achieve Metrological Consistency



Raju V. Datla, Ruediger Kessel, Allan W. Smith, Raghu N. Kacker, D. B. Pollock


Climate change monitoring requires long time series radiometric measurements using multiple optical sensors in multiple platforms covering the globe over decades. The problem of achieving traceability to SI units for these measurements is discussed. A major challenge is to determine the result of a measurement and its associated uncertainty using various calibration and validation processes. These processes are plagued by systematic (non-statistical) uncertainties that are not well understood. In particular, different but in principle equivalent SI traceable measurements may differ by more than would be expected from the uncertainties associated with the individual measurements. We propose a methodology based on the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) for the analysis of uncertainties in such measurements together with a rigorous consistency checking. This allows the measurement result and its associated uncertainty to evolve as new knowledge is gained from additional experiments, and it promotes greater caution in drawing conclusions in view of the sparse measurements. We use the data on the ongoing total solar irradiance measurements from various instruments in orbit to illustrate the principles.
International Journal of Remote Sensing


metrological consistency, remote sensing, uncertainty evaluation


Datla, R. , Kessel, R. , Smith, A. , Kacker, R. and Pollock, D. (2010), Uncertainty Analysis of Remote Sensing Optical Sensor Data Guiding Principles to Achieve Metrological Consistency, International Journal of Remote Sensing, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created February 19, 2010, Updated October 12, 2021