23 September 2013 Performance assessment of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra and Aqua spacecraft
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Abstract
Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments were designed to measure the reflected shortwave and emitted longwave radiances of the Earth’s radiation budget and to investigate the cloud interactions with global radiances for the long-term monitoring of Earth's climate. The three scanning thermistor bolometer sensors on CERES measure broadband radiances in the shortwave (0.3 to 5.0 micrometer), total (0.3 to <100 micrometer) and in 8 - 12 micrometer water vapor window regions. Of the five CERES instruments that are currently in operation, four of the CERES instruments (Flight Models1 through 4) fly aboard Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua platforms with two instruments aboard each spacecraft, in 705 KM sun-synchronous orbits of 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM equatorial crossing time.

A rigorous and comprehensive radiometric calibration and validation protocol comprising of various studies was developed to evaluate the calibration accuracy of the CERES instruments. The in-flight calibration of CERES sensors are carried out using the internal calibration module (ICM) comprising of blackbody sources and quartzhalogen tungsten lamp, and a solar diffuser plate known as the Mirror Attenuator Mosaic (MAM). The ICM calibration results are instrumental in determining the changes in CERES sensors’ gains after launch from the prelaunch determined values and the on-orbit gain variations. In addition to the broadband response changes derived from the on-board blackbody and the tungsten lamp, the shortwave and the total sensors show a spectrally dependent drop in responsivity in the shorter wavelegth region below one micron that were brought to light through validation studies. The spectrally dependent changes were attributed to the instrument operational modes and the corrections were derived using the sensor radiance comparisons. This paper covers the on-orbit behavior of CERES sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua spacecraft and the determination of the sensor response changes utilising the in-flight calibration and the radiance measurement comparisons viewing various targets. The corrections for the sensor response changes were incorporated in the radiance calculations of CERES Edition3 data products.
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Susan Thomas, Susan Thomas, K. J. Priestley, K. J. Priestley, M. Shankar, M. Shankar, N. M. Smith, N. M. Smith, N. G. Loeb, N. G. Loeb, D. R. Walikainen, D. R. Walikainen, P. C. Hess, P. C. Hess, R. S. Wilson, R. S. Wilson, N. P. Smith, N. P. Smith, } "Performance assessment of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra and Aqua spacecraft", Proc. SPIE 8866, Earth Observing Systems XVIII, 886606 (23 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2024963; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2024963
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