Absolute calibration of spectral shortwave radiometers is usually performed with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or NIST-traceable incandescent lamps. We compare 18 irradiance standards from NIST and three commercial vendors using the same spectrometer to assess their agreement with our working standard. The NIST procedure is followed for the 1000-W FEL lamps from NIST, Optronics, and EG&G. A modified calibration procedure developed by Li-Cor is followed for their 200-W tungsten–halogen lamps. Results are reproducible from one day to the next to approximately 0.1% using the same spectrometer. Measurements taken four months apart using two similar but different spectrometers were reproducible to 0.5%. The comparisons suggest that even NIST standards may disagree with each other beyond their stated accuracy. Some of the 1000-W commercial lamps agreed with the NIST lamps to within their stated accuracy, but not all. Surprisingly, the lowest-cost lamps from Li-Cor agreed much better with the NIST lamps than their stated accuracy of 4%, typically within 2%. An analysis of errors leads us to conclude that we can transfer the calibration from a standard lamp to a secondary standard lamp with approximately 1% added uncertainty. A field spectrometer was calibrated with a secondary standard, producing a responsivity for the spectrometer that was within 5% of the responsivity obtained by Langley calibration using routine field measurements.
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