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Luderer, G, Coakley, JA, Tahnk, WR (2005). Using sun glint to check the relative calibration of reflected spectral radiances. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY, 22(10), 1480-1493.

Observations of sunlight reflected from regions of sun glint are used to check the relative calibration of spectral radiances obtained with imaging radiometers. Reflectances at different wavelengths for sun-glint regions are linearly related. Provided that the atmosphere is reasonably transparent at the wavelengths, the aerosol burden is reasonably light, 0.64-mu m optical depth less than 0.2; the particles constituting the aerosol are reasonably large, as is the case for marine aerosols; and the solar zenith angle is less than about 35, the linear relationships between reflectances at different wavelengths are rather insensitive to the factors that govern the reflectances themselves. The relationships are remarkably insensitive to atmospheric composition, surface wind speed and direction, illumination, and viewing geometry. The slopes and offsets of the linear relationships are used to assess the relative accuracies of the calibrations of the different channels. Such assessments would appear to be attractive for checks on the in-flight performance of aircraft-borne imaging radiometers. Here, observations of reflectances at 0.64, 0.84, 1.6, and 2.1 mu m for regions of sun glint obtained with the Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments are shown to be consistent with each other. Observations of the 0.64- and 1.6-mu m reflectances for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) instrument are shown to be inconsistent with the MODIS observations, the VIRS 1.6-mu m gain appearing to be too low by 9%. The 0.64-, 0.84-, and 1.6-mu m reflectances obtained with the NOAA-16 and NOAA-17 Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers (AVHRRs) for December 2002 are shown to be inconsistent with each other and inconsistent with the MODIS observations. Based on observations of the extensive ice sheets of Antarctica, the NOAA-16 0.64-mu m gain is found to be too low by 5% and that for the 0.84-mu m reflectance is too low by 12%; the NOAA-170.64-mu m gain is found to be accurate (within 2%), but the 0.84-mu m gain is too low by 15%. With the gains adjusted, the 0.64- and 0.84-Am reflectances obtained for regions of sun glint with the AVHRRs are consistent with each other and consistent with the Terra and Aqua MODIS observations. These results suggest that the gain for the NOAA-16 AVHRR 1.6-mu m reflectance is accurate (within 1%) and that for the NOAA-17 AVHRR is too low by 5%. All of the observations were made with the AVHRR in the low-reflectance (high gain) mode. The accuracy of these assessments is expected to be about 5%.



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