Wireless sensor networks are typically composed of low-cost sensors that are deeply integrated in physical environments. As a result, the sensing performance of a wireless sensor network is inevitably undermined by biases in imperfect sensor hardware and the noises in data measurements. Although a variety of calibration methods have been proposed to address these issues, they often adopt the device-level approach that becomes intractable for moderate- to large-scale networks. In this paper, we propose a two-tier system-level calibration approach for a class of sensor networks that employ data fusion to improve the sensing performance. In the first tier of our calibration approach, each sensor learns its local sensing model from noisy measurements using an online algorithm and only transmits a few model parameters. In the second tier, sensors' local sensing models are then calibrated to a common system sensing model. Our approach fairly distributes computation overhead among sensors and significantly reduces the communication overhead of calibration. Based on this approach, we develop an optimal model calibration scheme that maximizes the target detection probability of a sensor network under bounded false alarm rate. Our approach is evaluated by both experiments on a testbed of TelosB motes and extensive simulations based on data traces collected in a real vehicle detection experiment. The results demonstrate that our system-level calibration approach can significantly boost the detection performance of sensor networks in the scenarios with low signal-to-noise ratios.