On-orbit relative calibration of the OLI is primarily monitored and corrected by observing an on-board primary solar diffuser panel. The panel is the most uniform target available to the OLI, though as observed but the OLI, it has a slope across the field of view due to view angle effects. Just after launch, parameters were derived using the solar diffuser data, to correct for the angular effects across the 14 modules. The residual discontinuities between arrays and the detector-to-detector uniformity continue to be monitored on a weekly basis.
The observed variations in the responses to the diffuser panel since launch are thought to be due to real instrument changes. Since launch, the Coastal/Aerosol (CA) and Blue bands have shown the most variation in relative calibration of the VNIR bands, with as much as 0.14% change (3-sigma) between consecutive relative gain estimates. The other VNIR bands (Green, Red and NIR) initially had detectors showing a slow drift of about 0.2% per year, though this stopped after an instrument power cycle about seven months after launch. The SWIR bands also exhibit variability between collects (0.11% 3-sigma) but the larger changes have been where individual detectors’ responses change suddenly by as much as 1.5%.
The mechanisms behind these changes are not well understood but in order to minimize impact to the users, the OLI relative calibration is updated on a quarterly basis in order to capture changes over time.