• microwave radiometer calibration;
  • radiometer design;
  • measurement uncertainty analysis;
  • least squares regression

[1] This paper introduces a method for predicting the performance of a radiometer design based on calculating the measurement uncertainty. The variety in radiometer designs and the demand for improved radiometric measurements justify the need for a more general and comprehensive method to assess system performance. Radiometric resolution, or sensitivity, is a figure of merit that has been commonly used to characterize the performance of a radiometer. However, when evaluating the performance of a calibration design for a radiometer, the use of radiometric resolution has limited application. These limitations are overcome by considering instead the measurement uncertainty. A method for calculating measurement uncertainty for a generic radiometer design including its calibration algorithm is presented. The result is a generalized technique by which system calibration architectures and design parameters can be studied to optimize instrument performance for given requirements and constraints. Example applications demonstrate the utility of using measurement uncertainty as a figure of merit.