Standard Stars to Enable Monitoring of Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted critical aspects of the measurement of climate change that require accurate data with sufficiently small uncertainties. These demand replicable instruments that are calibrated to physical standards and capable of long-term use in the field.
To address such issues, PL scientists, in cooperation with scientists at Harvard University and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, have proposed a plan for using a network of standard stars to monitor changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. A set of radiometrically calibrated stars that are evenly distributed across the celestial sphere could be used for monitoring the wavelength-dependent transmission of the Earth’s nighttime atmosphere.
Using these transmission measurements, quantification of aerosol, cloud, water vapor, and ozone levels would be possible. Furthermore, the spectrophotometric telescope designed for measuring and maintaining the standard stars are easily maintained, reliable, and highly cost effective, ensuring traceability and enabling worldwide deployment of replicas. A standard star system that is NIST-traceable would be continuously accessible for the on-orbit calibration of space-based instrumentation.
For further information, see "A proposed global atmospheric monitoring network based on standard stars", Proc. SPIE Vol. 7453, 74530K (2009).