23 September 2013 On-orbit solar calibration methods using the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) in-flight calibration system: lessons learned
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Abstract
The Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanning thermistor bolometers measure earth-reflected solar and earth-emitted long-wave radiances, at the top- of-the-atmosphere. The bolometers measure the earth radiances in the broadband shortwave solar (0.3-5.0 microns) and total (0.3->100 microns) spectral bands as well as in the 8->12 microns water vapor window spectral band over geographical footprints as small as 10 kilometers at nadir. December 1999, the second and third set of CERES bolometers was launched on the Earth Observing Mission Terra Spacecraft. May 2003, the fourth and fifth set of bolometers was launched on the Earth Observing Mission Aqua Spacecraft. Recently, (October 2011) the sixth instrument was launched on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (Suomi NPP) Spacecraft. Ground vacuum calibrations define the initial count conversion coefficients that are used to convert the bolometer output voltages into filtered earth radiances. The mirror attenuator mosaic (MAM), a solar diffuser plate, was built into the CERES instrument package calibration system in order to define on-orbit shifts or drifts in the sensor responses. It followed a similar design as the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) scanners with improvements from lessons learned.

The shortwave and shortwave part of the total-wave sensors are calibrated using the solar radiances reflected from the MAM's. Each MAM consists of baffle-solar diffuser plate systems, which guide incoming solar radiances into the instrument fields of view of the shortwave and total wave sensor units. The MAM diffuser reflecting type surface consists of an array of spherical aluminum mirror segments, which are separated by a Merck Black A absorbing surface, over-coated with SIOx (SIO2 for PFM). Thermistors are located within each MAM plate and the total channel baffle. The CERES MAM is designed to yield calibration precisions approaching .5 percent for the total and shortwave detectors. The Terra FM1 and FM2 shortwave channels and the FM1 and FM2 total channels MAM calibration systems showed shifts in their solar calibrations of 1.5, 2.5, 1.5 and 6 percent, respectively within the first year. The Aqua FM3, and FM4 shortwave channels and the FM3 and FM4 total channels MAM calibration systems showed shifts in their solar calibrations of 1.0, 1.2, 2.1 and .8 percent, respectively within the first year. A possible explanation has attributed the MAM reflectance change to on-orbit solar ultraviolet/atomic oxygen/out-gassing induced chemical changes to the SIOx coated MAM assembly during ram and solar exposure. There is also changes to the sensor telescope shortwave filters as well as the Total channel mirrors and/or sensors. The Soumi NPP FM5 is still after 2.5 years displaying a stability of less than .5 percent. In this presentation, lessons learned from the ERBE MAM and application of knowledge of how the space environment affected the CERES FM1-4 solar calibrations will be presented along with on-orbit measurements for the thirteen years the CERES instruments have been on-orbit.
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Robert S. Wilson, Robert S. Wilson, Kory J. Priestley, Kory J. Priestley, Susan Thomas, Susan Thomas, Phillip Hess, Phillip Hess, Mohan Shankar, Mohan Shankar, Nathaniel Smith, Nathaniel Smith, Peter Szewczyk, Peter Szewczyk, } "On-orbit solar calibration methods using the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) in-flight calibration system: lessons learned", Proc. SPIE 8866, Earth Observing Systems XVIII, 886607 (23 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2025967; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2025967
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