Cross-Calibration and Long-Term Monitoring of the Microwave Radiometers of ERS, TOPEX, GFO, Jason, and Envisat

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Abstract:

The radiometers on board the satellites ERS-1, TOPEX/Poseidon, ERS-2, GFO, Jason-1, and Envisat measure brightness temperatures at two or three different frequencies to determine the total columnal water vapor content and wet tropospheric path delay, a major correction to the altimeter range measurements. In order to asses the long-term stability of the path delay, the radiometers are calibrated against vicarious cold and hot references, against each other, and against several atmospheric models. Four of these radiometers exhibit significant drifts in at least one of the channels, resulting in yet unmodeled errors in path delay of up to 1 mm/year, thus limiting the accuracy at which global sea level rise can be inferred from the altimeter range measurements.

Keywords: brightness temperature; calibration; microwave radiometer; satellite altimetry; sea level change; wet tropospheric path delay

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01490410490465265

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Silver Spring Maryland USA 2: Department of Earth Observation and Satellite Systems Delft University of Technology Delft The Netherlands

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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