In-flight spectral characterization and calibration stability estimates for the clouds and the earth's radiant energy system (CERES)

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 2:45 PM
B302 (GWCC)
Grant Matthews, ITT, Fort Wayne, IN

It is essential to maintain global measurements of the earth radiation budget (ERB) from space, the scattered solar and emitted thermal radiative fluxes leaving the planet. These are required for the purpose of validating current climate model predictions of the planet's future response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. The measurement accuracy and calibration stability required to resolve the magnitude of model suggested cloud–climate feedbacks on the ERB has recently been estimated. The suggestion is for ERB data to strive for a calibration stability of 0.3%/decade for scattered solar, 0.5%/decade for emitted thermal, and an overall absolute accuracy of 1 W/m2. The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) is currently the only satellite program to make global ERB measurements, beginning in January 1998. However, the new climate calibration standards are beyond those originally specified by the NASA CERES program for its edition 2 data release. Furthermore, the CERES instrument optics have been discovered to undergo substantial in-flight degradation because of contaminant issues. This is not directly detectable by using established calibration methods. Hence, user-applied revisions for edition 2 shortwave (SW) data were derived to compensate for this effect, which is described as ‘‘spectral darkening.'' Also, an entirely new in-flight calibration protocol has been developed for CERES that uses deep convective cloud albedo as a primary solar wavelength stability metric. This is then combined with a sophisticated contamination mobilization/polymerization model. The intention is to assign spectral coloration to any optical degradation occurring to the different CERES Earth observing telescopes. This paper quantifies the stability of revised edition 2 data. It also calculates stability, which the new protocols could give CERES measurements if used. The conclusion is that the edition 2 revisions restore the originally specified stability of CERES SW data. It is also determined that the climate calibration stability goals are reachable by using the new in-flight methodologies presented in this paper. However, this will require datasets of longer than approximately 10 yr. It will also require obtaining regular raster scans of the Moon by all operational CERES instruments.