Modeling Suomi-NPP VIIRS Solar Diffuser Degradation due to Space Radiation

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Xi Shao, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States and Changyong Cao, NOAA College Park, College Park, MD, United States
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard Suomi-NPP uses a solar diffuser (SD) as on-board radiometric calibrator for the reflective solar band (RSB) calibration. Solar diffuser is made of Spectralon (one type of fluoropolymer) and was chosen because of its controlled reflectance in the VIS-NIR-SWIR region and its near-Lambertian reflectance profile. Spectralon is known to degrade in reflectance at the blue end of the spectrum due to exposure to space radiations such as solar UV radiation and energetic protons. These space radiations can modify the Spectralon surface through breaking C–C and C-F bonds and scissioning or cross linking the polymer, which causes the surface roughness and degrades its reflectance. VIIRS uses a SDSM (Solar Diffuser Stability Monitor) to monitor the change in the Solar Diffuser reflectance in the 0.4 – 0.94 um wavelength range and provide a correction to the calibration constants. The H factor derived from SDSM reveals that reflectance of 0.4 to 0.6um channels of VIIRS degrades faster than the reflectance of longer wavelength RSB channels. A model is developed to derive characteristic parameters such as mean SD surface roughness height and autocovariance length of SD surface roughness from the long term spectral degradation of SD reflectance as monitored by SDSM. These two parameters are trended to assess development of surface roughness of the SD over the operation period of VIIRS.