The 2016 CEOS infrared radiometer comparison: Part II: Laboratory comparison of radiation thermometers

E. Theocharous, N. P. Fox, I. Barker-Snook, R. Niclòs, V. Garcia Santos, P. J. Minnett, F. M. Göttsche, L. Poutier, N. Morgan, T. Nightingale, W. Wimmer, J. Høyer, K. Zhang, M. Yang, L. Guan, M. Arbelo, C. J. Donlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


To ensure confidence, measurements carried out by imaging radiometersmounted on satellites require robust validation using ''fiducial quality'' measurements of the same in situ parameter. For surface temperature measurements this is optimally carried out by radiometers measuring radiation emitted in the infrared region of the spectrum, collocated to that of a satellite overpass. For ocean surface temperatures the radiometers are usually on board ships to sample large areas but for land and ice they are typically deployed at defined geographical sites. It is of course critical that the validation measurements and associated instrumentation are internationally consistent and traceable to international standards. The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) facilitates this process and over the last two decades has organized a series of comparisons, initially to develop and share best practice, but now to assess metrological uncertainties and degree of consistency of all the participants. The fourth CEOS comparison of validation instrumentation: blackbodies and infrared radiometers, was held at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) during June and July 2016, sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). The 2016 campaign was completed over a period of three weeks and included not only laboratory-based measurements but also representative measurements carried out in field conditions, over land and water. This paper is one of a series and reports the results obtained when radiometers participating in this comparison were used tomeasure the radiance temperature of the NPL ammonia heat-pipe blackbody during the 2016 comparison activities (i.e., an assessment of radiometer performance compared to international standards). This comparison showed that the differences between the participating radiometer readings and the corresponding temperature of the reference blackbody were within the uncertainty of the measurements, but there were a few exceptions, particularly for a reference blackbody temperature of -30°C. Reasons that give rise to the discrepancies observed at the low blackbody temperatures were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1092
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Infrared radiation
  • Sea surface temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science

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    Theocharous, E., Fox, N. P., Barker-Snook, I., Niclòs, R., Garcia Santos, V., Minnett, P. J., Göttsche, F. M., Poutier, L., Morgan, N., Nightingale, T., Wimmer, W., Høyer, J., Zhang, K., Yang, M., Guan, L., Arbelo, M., & Donlon, C. J. (2019). The 2016 CEOS infrared radiometer comparison: Part II: Laboratory comparison of radiation thermometers. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 36(6), 1079-1092.