Abstract

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is now entering its fourth year of in-orbit global environmental observation and is producing a wide range of scientific output. The ocean color products in particular require a level of accuracy from the reflective solar bands (RSBs) that is a magnitude higher than the specification. In this work, we present an updated and completed core calibration pipeline that achieves the best sensor data records (SDR) to date and helps the ocean color products to reach maturity. We review the core calibration methodology of the RSBs and describe each essential input, including the solar diffuser stability monitor, the solar diffuser (SD), and lunar calibrations. Their associated issues, along with the successful mitigation and improved results, are described and presented. In particular, we illuminate the inaccuracy suffered due to the evolving angular dependence in the degradation of the on-board SD that impacts the heart of the RSB calibration, but also show that lunar-based calibration instead provides the correct long-term baseline for the successful restoration of the core methodology. The new look-up tables, which combine the coefficients from the SD-based and lunar-based calibrations, produce the optimal result, with an estimated accuracy of 0.2%. This hybrid approach highlights significant progress in the VIIRS RSB calibration and marks a completion of the core calibration result upon which other physical impacts or scientific issues can then be more accurately examined. We demonstrate the significant improvement and its impact on the ocean color products by comparing the current official output to the newly generated result. Lastly, we point out that this hybrid calibration coefficients scheme is made possible by a VIIRS design and layout change over its predecessor, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, that allows both the SD and the moon to be viewed by the RSB at the same angle of incidence. Thus, this design element warrants serious consideration for other satellite sensors utilizing a similar calibration methodology.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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