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Operators use automated network to calibrate satellites

Travelling standard radiometer used in test site in Namibia

Network of instrumented test sites (RadCalNet), supported by work in EMRP project, shows value to commercial satellite operators.

Remote sensing of the Earth from space is vital for obtaining data needed to underpin climate change research and identify potential environmental issues. EMRP project Metrology for Earth Observation and Climate (ENV53 MetEOC2) established tools, methods and infrastructure to help assign trustworthy confidence levels to climate change monitoring data. In order to achieve harmonisation and SI traceability of radiance and reflectance from space, the Earth Observation community through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) developed an automated network of instrumented ground reflectance tests sites, called RadCalNet, to calibrate satellites in orbit.

The project has supported the establishment of RadCalNet, currently a network of instrumented test sites, on four continents to provide ground to satellite comparisons for satellite product validation, by supporting site operators with uncertainty analysis and NASA with the sensitivity analysis. The project has also worked with CNES and ESA to establish the first purpose built RadCalNet site in Namibia as well as producing good practice guidance and requirements specifications for sites operating within RadCalNet.

RadCalNet was opened for access to a set of 'Beta testers' (10 different users, largely commercial satellite operators) in October 2016. These users provided positive feedback at a workshop in March 2017 and RadCalNet is currently completing testing ready for a full public launch towards the end of 2017.

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