Long-term, remote-sensing-based climate data records (CDRs) are highly dependent on having consistent, wellcalibrated satellite instrument measurements of the Earth’s radiant energy. Therefore, by making historical satellite calibrations consistent with those of today’s imagers, the Earth-observing community can benefit from a CDR that spans a minimum of 30 years. Most operational meteorological satellites rely on an onboard blackbody and space looks to provide on-orbit IR calibration, but neither target is traceable to absolute standards. The IR channels can also be affected by ice on the detector window, angle dependency of the scan mirror emissivity, stray-light, and detector-to-detector striping. Being able to quantify and correct such degradations would mean IR data from any satellite imager could contribute to a CDR. Recent efforts have focused on utilizing well-calibrated modern hyper-spectral sensors to intercalibrate concurrent operational IR imagers to a single reference. In order to consistently calibrate both historical and current IR imagers to the same reference, however, another strategy is needed. Large, well-characterized tropical-domain Earth targets have the potential of providing an Earth-view reference accuracy of within 0.5 K. To that effort, NASA Langley is developing an IR tropical mean calibration model in order to calibrate historical Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instruments. Using Meteosat-9 (Met-9) as a reference, empirical models are built based on spatially/temporally binned Met-9 and AVHRR tropical IR brightness temperatures. By demonstrating the stability of the Met-9 tropical models, NOAA-18 AVHRR can be calibrated to Met-9 by matching the AVHRR monthly histogram averages with the Met-9 model. This method is validated with ray-matched AVHRR and Met-9 bias difference time series. Establishing the validity of this empirical model will allow for the calibration of historical AVHRR sensors to within 0.5 K, and thereby establish a climate-quality IR data record.