Climate and Dynamics
Three years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder radiometric calibration validation using sea surface temperatures
Article first published online: 23 AUG 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 111, Issue D16, 27 August 2006
How to Cite
2006), Three years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder radiometric calibration validation using sea surface temperatures, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D16S90, doi:10.1029/2005JD006822., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 23 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 23 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 APR 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 1 MAR 2006
- Manuscript Received: 26 OCT 2005
- temperature sounder;
 This paper evaluates the absolute accuracy and stability of the radiometric calibration of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) by analyzing the difference between the brightness temperatures measured at 2616 cm−1 and those calculated at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), using the Real-Time Global Sea Surface Temperature (RTGSST) for cloud-free night tropical oceans between ±30° latitude. The TOA correction is based on radiative transfer. The analysis of the first 3 years of AIRS radiances verifies the absolute calibration at 2616 cm−1 to better than 200 mK, with better than 16 mK/yr stability. The AIRS radiometric calibration uses an internal full aperture wedge blackbody with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable prelaunch calibration coefficients. The calibration coefficients have been unchanged since launch. The analysis uses very tight cloud filtering, which selects about 7000 cloud-free tropical ocean spectra per day, about 0.5% of the data. The absolute accuracy and stability of the radiometry demonstrated at 2616 cm−1 are direct consequences of the implementation of AIRS as a thermally controlled, cooled grating-array spectrometer and meticulous attention to details. Comparable radiometric performance is inferred from the AIRS design for all 2378 channels. AIRS performance sets the benchmark for what can be achieved with a state-of-the-art hyperspectral radiometer from polar orbit and what is expected from future hyperspectral sounders. AIRS was launched into a 705 km altitude polar orbit on NASA's Earth Observation System (EOS) Aqua spacecraft on 4 May 2002. AIRS covers the 3.7–15.4 micron region of the thermal infrared spectrum with a spectral resolution of ν/Δν = 1200 and has returned 3.7 million spectra of the upwelling radiance each day since the start of routine data gathering in September 2002.