Wang, L, Cao, C, Ciren, P (2007). Assessing NOAA-16 HIRS radiance accuracy using simultaneous nadir overpass observations from AIRS. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY, 24(9), 1546-1561.
The High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) has been carried on NOAA satellites for more than two decades, and the HIRS data have been widely used for geophysical retrievals, climate studies, and radiance assimilation for numerical weather prediction models. However, given the legacy of the filter-wheel radiometer originally designed in the 1970s, the HIRS measurement accuracy is neither well documented nor well understood, despite the importance of this information for data users, instrument manufacturers, and calibration scientists. The advent of hyperspectral sounders, such as the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder ( AIRS), and intersatellite calibration techniques makes it possible to independently assess the accuracy of the HIRS radiances. This study independently assesses the data quality and calibration accuracy of HIRS by comparing the radiances between HIRS on NOAA-16 and AIRS on Aqua with simultaneous nadir overpass (SNO) observations for the year 2004. The results suggest that the HIRS radiometric bias relative to the AIRS-convolved HIRS radiance is on the order of similar to 0.5 K, except channel 16, which has a bias of 0.8 K. For all eight spectrally overlapped channels, the observations by HIRS are warmer than the corresponding AIRS-convolved HIRS channel. Other than channel 16, the biases are temperature dependent. The root causes of the bias can be traced to a combination of the HIRS blackbody emissivity, nonlinearity, and spectral uncertainties. This study further demonstrates the utility of high-spectral-resolution radiance measurements for high-accuracy assessments of broadband radiometer calibration with the SNO observations.