Earth-looking imaging spectrometers operating in the solar-reflected spectrum measure spectra of the total upwelling radiance for each spatial element in an image. These measurements are used to derive physical parameters of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere from the energy, molecular absorption, and constituent scattering characteristics expressed in each spectrum. To achieve these quantitative objectives, the measured spectra must be spectrally, radiometrically, and spatially calibrated. The ubiquitous presence of numerous, strong, narrow atmosphere and solar absorptions in the upwelling spectral radiance in conjunction with the narrow spectral channels of imaging spectrometers forms the basis for a general spectral calibration requirement. In order to determine the requirement for spectral calibration accuracy, a sensitivity analysis has been completed for imaging spectrometers with contiguously sampled spectral channel response functions of 5, 10, and 20 nm full width at half-maximum from 400 to 2500 nm. This sensitivity analysis shows that spectral calibration errors of 10% and 5% cause significant, spectrally distinct errors in the measured radiance throughout the solar-reflected spectrum. These errors result from the sensitivity of the measured radiance to the exact convolution of the narrow channels of imaging spectrometers with the upwelling spectral radiance that contains narrow atmosphere and solar absorptions. These errors are systematic and add directly to the radiometric calibration uncertainty for every spectrum in the image. This analysis establishes that a spectral calibration accuracy approaching 1% of the full width at half-maximum throughput of the spectral response function for both spectral channel position and shape is necessary to suppress these errors in the measured radiance spectrum.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Robert O. Green, "Spectral calibration requirement for Earth-looking imaging spectrometers in the solar-reflected spectrum," Appl. Opt. 37, 683-690 (1998)