Xiong, XX, Chiang, KF, Wu, AS, Barnes, WL, Guenther, B, Salomonson, VV (2008). Multiyear on-orbit calibration and performance of Terra MODIS thermal emissive bands. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 46(6), 1790-1803.
Since its launch in December 1999, Terra MODIS has been making continuous Earth observations for more than seven years. It has produced a broad range of land, ocean, and atmospheric science data products for improvements in studies of global climate and environmental change. Among its 36 spectral bands, there are 20 reflective solar bands and 16 thermal emissive bands (TEBs). MODIS TEBs cover the mid-wave infrared and long-wave infrared spectral regions with wavelengths from 3.7 to 14.4 mu m. They are calibrated on-orbit using an onboard black-body (BB) with its temperature measured by a set of thermistors on a scan-by-scan basis. This paper will provide a brief overview of MODIS TEB calibration and characterization methodologies and illustrate onboard BB functions and TEB performance over more than seven years of on-orbit operation and calibration. Discussions will be focused on TEB detector short-term stability and noise characterization and changes in long-term response (or system gain). Results show that Terra MODIS BB operation has been extremely stable since launch. When operated at its nominal controlled temperature of 290 K, the BB temperature variation is typically less than +/- 0.30 mK on a scan-by-scan basis, and there has been no time-dependent temperature drift. In addition to excellent short-term stability, most TEB detectors continue to meet or exceed their specified noise characterization requirements, thus enabling calibration accuracy and science data product quality to be maintained. Excluding the noisy detectors identified prelaunch and those that occurred postlaunch, the changes in TEB responses have been less than 0.7% on an annual basis. The optical leak corrections applied to bands 32-36 have been effective and stable over the entire mission.