Xiong, XX, Sun, JQ, Xie, XB, Barnes, WL, Salomonson, VV (2010). On-Orbit Calibration and Performance of Aqua MODIS Reflective Solar Bands. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 48(1), 535-546.
Aqua MODIS has successfully operated on-orbit for more than six years since its launch in May 2002, continuously making global observations and improving studies of changes in the Earth's climate and environment. Twenty of the 36 MODIS spectral bands, covering wavelengths from 0.41 to 2.2 mu m, are the reflective solar bands (RSBs). They are calibrated on-orbit using an onboard solar diffuser (SD) and an SD stability monitor. In addition, regularly scheduled lunar observations are made to track the RSB calibration stability. This paper presents Aqua MODIS RSB on-orbit calibration and characterization activities, methodologies, and performance. Included in this paper are characterizations of detector signal-to-noise ratio, short-term stability, and long-term response change. Spectral-wavelength-dependent degradation of the SD bidirectional reflectance factor and scan mirror reflectance, which also varies with the angle of incidence, is examined. On-orbit results show that Aqua MODIS onboard calibrators have performed well, enabling accurate calibration coefficients to be derived and updated for the Level 1B production and assuring high-quality science data products to be continuously generated and distributed. Since launch, the short-term response, on a scan-by-scan basis, has remained extremely stable for most RSB detectors. With the exception of band 6, there have been no new RSB noisy or inoperable detectors. Like its predecessor, i.e., Terra MODIS, launched in December 1999, the Aqua MODIS visible spectral bands have experienced relatively large changes, with an annual response decrease (mirror side 1) of 3.6% for band 8 at 0.412 mu m, 2.3% for band 9 at 0.443 mu m, 1.6% for band 3 at 0.469 mu m, and 1.2% for band 10 at 0.488 mu m. For other RSB bands with wavelengths greater than 0.5 mu m, the annual response changes are typically less than 0.5%. In general, Aqua MODIS optics degradation is smaller than Terra MODIS, and the mirror-side differences are much smaller. Overall, Aqua MODIS RSB on-orbit performance is better than that of Terra MODIS.