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On the Long-Term Stability of Microwave Radiometers Using Noise Diodes for Calibration

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4 Author(s)

Results are presented from the long-term monitoring and calibration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jason Microwave Radiometer (JMR) on the Jason-1 ocean altimetry satellite and the ground-based Advanced Water Vapor Radiometers (AWVRs) developed for the Cassini Gravity Wave Experiment. Both radiometers retrieve the wet tropospheric path delay (PD) of the atmosphere and use internal noise diodes (NDs) for gain calibration. The JMR is the first radiometer to be flown in space that uses NDs for calibration. External calibration techniques are used to derive a time series of ND brightness for both instruments that is greater than four years. For the JMR, an optimal estimator is used to find the set of calibration coefficients that minimize the root-mean-square difference between the JMR brightness temperatures and the on-Earth hot and cold references. For the AWVR, continuous tip curves are used to derive the ND brightness. For the JMR and AWVR, both of which contain three redundant NDs per channel, it was observed that some NDs were very stable, whereas others experienced jumps and drifts in their effective brightness. Over the four-year time period, the ND stability ranged from 0.2% to 3% among the diodes for both instruments. The presented recalibration methodology demonstrates that long-term calibration stability can be achieved with frequent recalibration of the diodes using external calibration techniques. The JMR PD drift compared to ground truth over the four years since the launch was reduced from 3.9 to -0.01 mm/year with the recalibrated ND time series. The JMR brightness temperature calibration stability is estimated to be 0.25 K over ten days.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 7 )

Date of Publication:

May 2007

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