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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Our Environment and Climate


Satellites: the view from space

Reduced Background Calibration Facility 2
The interior view of the source chamber of the Reduced Background Calibration Facility 2. In the foreground: the reference blackbody radiators against which, for example, the FORUM and GLORIA reference sources are calibrated.

How much does the greenhouse effect heat up the earth? Which rainforests are being cut down? Where are CFCs still being released into the atmosphere? In order to answer such questions, data from measuring instruments installed on satellites are continuously evaluated and made freely available within the framework of the ESA-SENTINEL missions and the planned EnMAP mission of the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Future missions will make it possible to make reliable statements about the complete energy balance of the Earth. The planned ESA mission TRUTHS measures the solar irradiance. For the emitted radiation of the Earth, the planned ESA Earth Explorer Opens external link in new windowFORUM will be in charge. PTB is involved in its characterization even at this early stage to a great extent. Other essential climate variables which are measured from space by radiation thermometry or radiometry are the temperatures of water surface and atmosphere as well as the concentrations of trace gases and aerosols. PTB ensures that the respective measuring instruments and the detector and radiator standards are traceable to the International System of Units before they are used. PTB has been supporting ESA for many years, for example by means of its Reduced Background Calibration Facility, a measuring facility that is unique in Europe for the calibration of instruments in remote sensing in the infrared spectral range. With its measurement capabilities in the far infrared range, PTB is unique in the world. With a new spectral comparator measurement setup, PTB will, in the future, also be able to meet the specific requirements of remote sensing in the spectral range from the UV to the infrared.


Participating department and working group

Opens internal link in current window7.3 Detector Radiometry and Radiation Thermometry

Opens internal link in current window7.32 Infrared Radiation Thermometry