Panel Discussion

Wednesday, September 23 | 10:45 am

Calibration Needs for Climate Science

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Climate monitoring requires high-accuracy data spanning decadal timescales. What are the requirements for ground, vicarious, and on-orbit calibrations that enable quality climate measurements? How do measurement accuracy, stability, and duration impact the fusion of multiple data records to create extended time series from potentially non-overlapping measurements? This interactive panel discussion on current challenges and future calibration needs of climate-science instruments will include commentary from international experts representing Earth-monitoring missions, lab-calibration practices, spacecraft instrumentation, and measurement inter-calibration efforts.


Deron Scott, Utah State University/Space Dynamics Laboratory

Mr. Scott serves as the program manager and calibration engineer in SDL’s calibration group, where he has been involved in diverse testing programs related to weather, climate change, material testing, and small satellites since 1992. Mr. Scott has contributed to the development of both ground and on-orbit calibration, testing, and verification plans for weather and climate payloads such as the Suomi NPP CrIS.

Throughout his career, Mr. Scott has worked with sensor and sensor component providers and team members from a variety of organizations to achieve test results that provide greater understanding of payload measurements in order to meet mission objectives.

Mr. Scott has served as a conference co-chair for SDL’s annual CALCON technical meeting since 2007. He earned a BS (1992) and an MS (1994) in electrical engineering from Utah State University.


Dr. James Butler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An optical physicist in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), James J. Butler has served as EOS Calibration Scientist since 1995, Deputy S-NPP Project Scientist for Instruments and Calibration since 2004, and JPSS Deputy Flight Project Scientist for Instruments and Calibration since 2011. He also serves as Principal Investigator of the Radiometric and Diffuser Calibration Laboratories at NASA GSFC. He is the NASA representative to the Executive Panel of the International Global Space-based Inter-calibration System (GSICS). Dr. Butler’s research experience includes the calibration and characterization of remote sensing instrumentation, optical metrology, ground-based and balloon-borne lidar for the detection of stratospheric molecular and radical species, and laser-induced fluorescence of molecules and radicals. As a research associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he conducted research in the photoionization and dissociation dynamics of state selected hydrocarbons and in photoelectron spectroscopy. He received the BS degree in physical chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and the PhD degree in physical chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982.

Dr. Greg Kopp, University of Colorado/ Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)

Dr. Kopp is a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Greg likes gold-plated instruments. He has over three decades of experience building and operating space-, air-, and ground-based instruments for solar and Earth-viewing measurements. As a faculty member at the Univ. of Colorado (CU), he is the instrument scientist for NASA’s three spaceborne Total Irradiance Monitors, which established the currently-accepted total solar irradiance value of 1361 W m 2 powering the Earth’s climate system; the Instrument PI at LASP for the CLARREO Pathfinder HySICS, intended to improve radiometric accuracies of Earth spectral radiances by ~10x; the PI at CU supporting NASA’s ARCSTONE instrument to improve spectral lunar-irradiance measurements; and a scientist involved in several international teams on solar variability and Earth-climate effects. Despite several calibration campaigns at NIST and PMOD, he still is more fluent in German than in the GUM.

Larry Leigh, Image Processing Laboratory, South Dakota State University

Mr. Leigh received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota State University in 1998 and 2001 respectfully. He started as an Imaging Engineer at South Dakota State University Image Processing Lab in 2002, and now leads the lab as the Director. Leigh’s primary work revolves around radiometric calibration and validation of on orbit optical sensors. His lab not only monitors the performance of several sensors on orbit but develops new techniques applicable to the everchanging number and kind of sensors being placed on orbit. The key areas of interest for Leigh is the optical modeling of the atmosphere, development of continent scale calibration targets (EPICS), developing new techniques for surface reflectance product validation, and vicarious calibration.

Dr. Martin G. Mlynczak, NASA Langley Research Center

Dr. Mlynczak is a Senior Research Scientist in the Climate Science Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. For the past 30 years he has studied the climate and energy balance of the Earth’s whole atmosphere. He has been a team member or investigator on nearly every major satellite project addressing climate including the NASA Earth Science CERES and AIRS instruments, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and the international Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument, and the future CLARREO mission. He is currently the Associate Principal Investigator of the SABER instrument on the NASA TIMED mission exploring the mesosphere and thermosphere.

He has also led multiple technology development projects for climate sensing including the FIRST, INFLAME, CORSAIR, FORGE, FIREBIB, and FIDTAP projects. He is also an Affiliate Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Mlynczak has received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (2003), and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2009). In 2012, he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor NASA bestows, for his work in the atmospheric and climate sciences. His has published nearly 240 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered nearly 100 invited talks, tutorials, or keynote lectures at national and international science symposia. Dr. Mlynczak received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1989; the M. S. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1984; and the B. S. degree in physics from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1981.