The wealth of data generated by the world's Earth-observing satellites, now spanning decades, allows the construction of long-term climate records. A key consideration for detecting climate trends is precise quantification of temporal changes in sensor calibration on-orbit. For radiometer instruments in the solar reflectance wavelength range (near-UV to shortwave-IR), the Moon can be viewed as a solar diffuser with exceptional stability properties. A model for the lunar spectral irradiance that predicts the geometric variations in the Moon's brightness with ???1% precision has been developed at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, AZ. Lunar model results corresponding to a series of Moon observations taken by an instrument can be used to stabilize sensor calibration with sub-percent per year precision, as demonstrated by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). The inherent stability of the Moon and the operational model to utilize the lunar irradiance quantity provide the Moon as a reference source for monitoring radiometric calibration in orbit. This represents an important capability for detecting terrestrial climate change from space-based radiometric measurements.
Additional Publication Details
The moon as a radiometric reference source for on-orbit sensor stability calibration
2009 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, IGARSS 2009