Intersatellite Radiance Biases for the High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounders (HIRS) on board NOAA-15, -16, and -17 from Simultaneous Nadir Observations

Changyong Cao NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Hui Xu IMSG, Inc., Kensington, Maryland

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Jerry Sullivan NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Larry McMillin NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Pubu Ciren QSS Group, Inc., Lanham, Maryland

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Yu-Tai Hou NOAA–NCEP, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Abstract

Intersatellite radiance comparisons for the 19 infrared channels of the High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounders (HIRS) on board NOAA-15, -16, and -17 are performed with simultaneous nadir observations at the orbital intersections of the satellites in the polar regions, where each pair of the HIRS views the same earth target within a few seconds. Analysis of such datasets from 2000 to 2003 reveals unambiguous intersatellite radiance differences as well as calibration anomalies.

The results show that in general, the intersatellite relative biases are less than 0.5 K for most HIRS channels. The large biases in different channels differ in both magnitude and sign, and are likely to be caused by the differences and measurement uncertainties in the HIRS spectral response functions. The seasonal bias variation in the stratosphere channels is found to be highly correlated with the lapse rate factor approximated by the channel radiance differences. The method presented in this study works particularly well for channels sensing the stratosphere because of the relative spatial uniformity and stability of the stratosphere, for which the intercalibration accuracy and precision are mostly limited by the instrument noise. This method is simple and robust, and the results are highly repeatable and unambiguous. Intersatellite radiance calibration with this method is very useful for the on-orbit verification and monitoring of instrument performance, and is potentially useful for constructing long-term time series for climate studies.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Changyong Cao, NOAA/NESDIS/ORA/SMCD/Sensor Physics Branch, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 701, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: changyong.cao@noaa.gov

Abstract

Intersatellite radiance comparisons for the 19 infrared channels of the High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounders (HIRS) on board NOAA-15, -16, and -17 are performed with simultaneous nadir observations at the orbital intersections of the satellites in the polar regions, where each pair of the HIRS views the same earth target within a few seconds. Analysis of such datasets from 2000 to 2003 reveals unambiguous intersatellite radiance differences as well as calibration anomalies.

The results show that in general, the intersatellite relative biases are less than 0.5 K for most HIRS channels. The large biases in different channels differ in both magnitude and sign, and are likely to be caused by the differences and measurement uncertainties in the HIRS spectral response functions. The seasonal bias variation in the stratosphere channels is found to be highly correlated with the lapse rate factor approximated by the channel radiance differences. The method presented in this study works particularly well for channels sensing the stratosphere because of the relative spatial uniformity and stability of the stratosphere, for which the intercalibration accuracy and precision are mostly limited by the instrument noise. This method is simple and robust, and the results are highly repeatable and unambiguous. Intersatellite radiance calibration with this method is very useful for the on-orbit verification and monitoring of instrument performance, and is potentially useful for constructing long-term time series for climate studies.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Changyong Cao, NOAA/NESDIS/ORA/SMCD/Sensor Physics Branch, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 701, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: changyong.cao@noaa.gov

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