Abstract

We present an overview of the calibration of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of View Sensor (SeaWiFS) from its performance verification at the manufacturer’s facility to the completion of its third year of on-orbit measurements. These calibration procedures have three principal parts: a prelaunch radiometric calibration that is traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Transfer-to-Orbit Experiment, a set of measurements that determine changes in the instrument’s calibration from its manufacture to the start of on-orbit operations; and measurements of the sun and the moon to determine radiometric changes on orbit. To our knowledge, SeaWiFS is the only instrument that uses routine lunar measurements to determine changes in its radiometric sensitivity. On the basis of these methods, the overall uncertainty in the SeaWiFS top-of-the-atmosphere radiances is estimated to be 4–5%. We also show the results of comparison campaigns with aircraft- and ground-based measurements, plus the results of an experiment, called the Southern Ocean Band 8 Gain Study. These results are used to check the calibration of the SeaWiFS bands. To date, they have not been used to change the instrument’s prelaunch calibration coefficients. In addition to these procedures, SeaWiFS is a vicariously calibrated instrument for ocean-color measurements. In the vicarious calibration of the SeaWiFS visible bands, the calibration coefficients are modified to force agreement with surface truth measurements from the Marine Optical Buoy, which is moored off the Hawaiian Island of Lanai. This vicarious calibration is described in a companion paper.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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