Design, operation, and calibration of a shipboard fast-rotationg shadowband spectral radiometer

R. M. Reynold, M. A. Miller, M. J. Bartholomew

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20 Scopus citations


This paper describes the design, calibration, and deployment of a fast-rotating shadowband radiometer (FRSR) that accurately decomposes downward shortwave (solar) irradiance into direct-beam and diffuse components from a moving platform, such as a ship on the ocean. The FRSR has seven channels, one broad-band silicone detector, and six 10-nm-wide channels at 415, 500, 610, 660, 860, and 940 nm. The shadowband technique produces estimates of the direct-beam normal irradiance, the diffuse irradiance (sky component), and the total irradiance. The direct-beam normal irradiances produce time series of aerosol optical thickness. A proven ability to derive meaningful at-sea estimates of aerosol optical depth from an economical, automated, and reliable instrument opens the way to a distributed network of such measurements from volunteer observing ships in all areas of the World Ocean. The processing algorithms are key to the instrument's ability to derive direct-normal beam irradiance without gimbals and a gyro-stabilized table. At-sea Langly plots were produced during the Aerosols99 cruise of the R/V Ronald H. Brown from Norfolk, Virginia, to Cape Town, South Africa. A Langley calibration of the instrument at the Mauna Loa Observatory confirmed prior calibrations and demonstrated that the calibration was stable over the duration of the cruise. The standard deviation in all plots was of the order 2% for all channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science

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