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November 2016

Second MetEOC-2 Newsletter

The MetEOC-2 partners have produced the second MetEOC-2 newsletter, detailing some of the activities undertaken in 2016 within the MetEOC-2 programme.

Download a copy of the second newsletter here

September 2016

Write a short article about climate change for your chance to be published in The Ecologist magazine

June 2016

NPL gives the public a new perspective on Earth and climate change

NPL volunteers Abbie Stone, Matt Whitney and Shafiqul Aziz demonstrating Earth observation to excited members of the public

NPL volunteers Abbie Stone, Matt Whitney and Shafiqul Aziz
demonstrating Earth observation to excited members of the public

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) attended Cheltenham Science Festival and demonstrated how satellites can be used to observe the Earth's surface. As one of the UK's most prestigious and popular science festivals, the event was an ideal setting to explain the work of NPL, and to give the public the opportunity to see the Earth from a new perspective.

An annual celebration of science

Each summer, Cheltenham Science Festival holds six days of talks, practical demonstrations, debates and experiments. Speakers this year included Richard Dawkins, Alice Roberts and Jim al Khalili; and visiting institutions included the BBC and GCHQ, alongside NPL.

Volunteers from NPL manned a stand at the Festival to demonstrate satellite Earth observation and spectroscopy to members of the public.

A new perspective on our planet

Orbiting satellites enjoy a view of the Earth that few will ever experience (except astronauts). But satellite observation gives scientists access to an off-world perspective, and at Cheltenham NPL gave members of the public a taste of this different perspective.

Visitors to our stand used a spectrometer inside a model satellite to analyse the light reflected off samples of the Earth's surface, including a rainforest (a shrub), deforested land (bare soil), a desert (sand), and a degraded grassland (plastic grass). The demonstration showed the different wavelengths of light reflected by each sample (the spectral signature) and how these can be used to identify different types of land cover.

Members of the public were interested to find out how satellites can be used in this way to monitor processes on a range of scales, from assessing the health of agricultural crops, to monitoring global climate change. A number of visitors to the stand were also pleasantly surprised to realise our sample of plastic grass was in fact fake when they analysed it with the satellite and revealed its unusual spectral signature (low near-infrared reflectance).

Monitoring climate change

This year's stand was inspired by MetEOC, a project led by NPL to develop new calibration methods for Earth observation satellites, to enhance the accuracy of their measurements. The project is part of a broader movement in the measurement science community to provide ever more accurate Earth observation data to climate scientists. Ultimately, this work will allow the development of more sophisticated climate models, which are used to inform policy and develop strategies to mitigate climate change.

Impact through engagement

The Festival was an ideal opportunity to explain the work of NPL to non-scientists, and to discuss climate change and climate research. Visitors to our stand ranged from future scientists at primary school (and some even younger) to those 'well past retirement age'. It was a delight to meet so many people with a passion for science and a curiosity about climate research.

Ally Barker, from NPL's Earth Observation, Climate and Optical Group, commented:

"This was a brilliant opportunity to share some of NPL's science with the wider public. It was great to meet so many people who are so interested and passionate about science, and increase awareness of our urgent need to act on climate change".

NPL will be back again next year.

Find out more about NPL's Earth observation research

For more information, contact Ally Barker

February 2016

First MetEOC-2 Newsletter

MetEOC-2 partners have produced the first annual MetEOC-2 newsletter, detailing some of the activities undertaken in 2015 within the MetEOC-2 programme.

Download a copy of the first newsletter here

January 2016

Proposing an outline for MetEOC-3 project proposal

A proposal for a follow-on phase of this project (MetEOC-3) is currently being planned. Ideas from the community relating to priority needs, particularly where metrology support to an existing international project is desired, are welcome. Responses need to be sent to:

Dr Nigel Fox, Head of Earth Observation and Climate, NPL (E: nigel.fox@npl.co.uk) by 20 February 2016.

November 2015

Attending the Science Advisory Panel for AEMERA

NPL's Joanne Nightingale is currently serving as an invited Science Advisory Panel (SAP) member for Alberta's Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) and recently attended a SAP meeting in Edmonton, Canada, to review the current science implementation strategy. Find out more

November 2015

CEOS-WGCV-IVOS and RadCalNet meetings

CEOS-WGCV-IVOS and RadCalNet meetings

The CEOS-WGCV-IVOS meeting in Toulouse, France, was attended by more than 40 world experts from space agencies and associated industry across the globe, with additional attendance remotely via the internet. NPL was well-represented, with Nigel Fox chairing the Infrared and Visible Optical Sensors (IVOS) subgroup, and Javier Gorroño presenting work on using pseudo-invariant calibration sites for TRUTHS and work on the Sentinel-2 uncertainties.

The RadCalNet working group also met during the IVOS week, where Tracy Scanlon presented her uncertainty analysis for the USA's RadCalNet site.

November 2015

Field Campaign at the Gobabeb Site, Namibia

NPL, in collaboration with CNES, carried out site characterisation using an ASD portable spectroradiometer and GRASS, the Gonio Radiometric Spectrometer System, to find a location for a permanent instrument site. A CIMEL sun photometer will be installed in 2016 to continuously monitor the atmosphere and surface reflectance on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and EURAMET. Find out more

ASD measurements being taken at the Gobabeb site   ASD measurements being taken at the Gobabeb site

ASD measurements being taken at the Gobabeb site

 

GRASS deployed at the Gobabeb site

October 2015

Future SI standard for Solar Irradiance delivered to World Radiation Center

Future SI standard for Solar Irradiance delivered to World Radiation Center

Scientists from NPL's Earth Observation, Climate and Optical (ECO) group have recently installed the Cryogenic Solar Absolute Radiometer (CSAR) at the Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos / World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) in Switzerland. CSAR was developed in close collaboration with PMOD/WRC and METAS (NMI Switzerland).

As a cryogenic radiometer, CSAR provides a direct link to the International System of Units (SI), and offers a much-reduced measurement uncertainty compared to the current standard.

During the WMO International Pyrheliometer Comparison (IPC XII) CSAR was measuring Solar Irradiance alongside the existing World Standard Group (WSG) which currently provides the worldwide radiometric reference scale for Solar Irradiance measurements.

October 2015

NPL present on TREES at the University of Edinburgh

NPL's Joanne Nightingale was an invited presenter at the University of Edinburgh seminar series in GIS, Remote Sensing, and Geo-Informatics that was organised by the Edinburgh Earth Observatory in conjunction with the Association for Geographic Information, Scotland. The seminar covered work carried out within the TREES (TRaceability in tErrestrial vEgetation Sensors and biophysical products) group at NPL (www.npl.co.uk/trees), and was attended by postgraduate students and industry professionals across Edinburgh. The presentation is available here

October 2015

MetEOC team visits Chinese RadCalNet site and delivers training course

Emma delivered a training course on Metrology for Earth Observation to the Academy of Opto-Electronics, AOE, in Beijing, and Nigel Fox met with CMA (the Chinese Met Office).

They also visited the Chinese RadCalNet site (radiometric calibration network of instrumented test sites), belonging to AOE (Academy of Opto-Electronics) in Baotou, Inner Mongolia.

MetEOC team visits Chinese RadCalNet site and delivers training course   MetEOC team visits Chinese RadCalNet site and delivers training course
The Railroad Valley RadCalNet site, Nevada

August 2015

NPL visit Railroad Valley site in Nevada

Tracy Scanlon visited the Railroad Valley RadCalNet site, Nevada (pictured right).

She accompanied a team from the University of Arizona who utilise the radiometric test site for the vicarious calibration of instruments on-board satellites. The methods used in both measuring the site and propagating the surface measurements to Top-of-Atmosphere will aid in developing a robust and complete uncertainty budget for the site.

Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) UAV measurement campaign at Wytham Woods

August 2015

NPL visit CNES at La Crau, France

NPL's Agnieszka Bialek and Claire Greenwell visited the CNES site at La Crau, France. La Crau is part of RadCalNet, a prototype network of automated vicarious satellite reference sites. This visit was in preparation for the later visit to Gobabeb Research and Training Centre, where a new member site of RadCalNet is currently being set up. NPL visited to observe an example of site characterisation field work.

August 2015

Metrology for Climate workshop report published

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has published an extensive report 'Metrology for Climate - Metrology priorities for the earth observation and climate community' containing the recommendations from international research organisations on the role of metrology in supporting climate research. Find out more

June 2015

Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) UAV measurement campaign at Wytham Woods

Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) UAV measurement campaign at Wytham Woods

Eija Honkavaara, Olli Nevalainen, Teemu Hakala, Tomi Rosnell, Roope Näsi, Sanna Kaasalainen from FGI carried used an unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV)-based hyperspectral imaging system, terrestrial hyperspectral passive imaging system and an active hyperspectral LiDAR (HSL) during the campaign.

June 2015

Summer field campaign at Wytham Woods, Oxford

Summer field campaign at Wytham Woods, Oxford

Six hectares of forest were sampled with a range of optical devices to estimate forest structure, leaf/canopy area and the spectral properties of individual foliage elements, bark and understory. Find out more

May 2015

NPL hosts Metrology for Climate meeting

NPL hosts Metrology for Climate meeting

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) hosted a conference in May, bringing together representatives from international research organisations to discuss the role of metrology in supporting climate research. Find out more

April 2015

NPL to provide global traceability for Earth surface Temperature measurements

The Earth Observation, Climate and Optical (ECO) group has won a €500k contract with ESA to intercompare instruments used to measure the Earth's surface temperature (Ocean, Land and Ice) to validate satellite observations.

Measurement of change in the temperature of the Earth's surface is crucial to our understanding of climate. Sea Surface Temperature, for example, is one of the Essential Climate variables (ECV) and one where we are seeking to detect changes as small as a 0.2 #°C per decade. The global nature of such measurements means they are highly reliant on satellite observations with a key sensor from ESA (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) planned to be launch as part of the Sentinel 3 mission later this year. NPL is also providing traceability to this sensor through other projects.

The project called 'Fiducial Reference Measurements for Surface Temperature validation of Satellites' (FRM4STS) has at its core a set of comparisons carried out under the auspices of Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). These comparisons will aim to include all the world's key research and measurement groups involved in satellite validation and will be the fourth in a series of five-yearly comparisons for the oceans (NPL also led the last comparison in 2010), but the first for Land and Ice.

As part of the laboratory phase of the comparisons, reference will be made to NPL and in part PTB standards to ensure a robust link and associated uncertainty to SI for all measurements can be established. The project will also include comparisons on the Ocean, the deserts of Namibia and probably the Arctic sea ice, as well as outside in the grounds of NPL. In addition to the measurements, a review of community methods will be undertaken with the view to establish a set of best practices on how traceability can be established and optimally maintained. The project will be led by NPL and will include collaborators from University of Southampton, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Scottish Marine Institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Danish Meteorological Institute and PTB in the main to provide domain specific expertise to the NPL team.

The project is the latest addition to a rapidly-increasing portfolio of externally-funded projects reflecting the community awareness of the need to establish SI traceability and QA for Earth Observation and Climate. The success of these projects, underpinned by the UK National Measurement System (NMS) and the work of the Centre of Carbon Measurement, demonstrates the international leadership role that NPL has in meeting the needs of this critical sector.

September 2014

MetEOC-2 project begins

MetEOC-2 project begins

July 2014

NPL's Dr Nigel Fox has written an article, 'The TRUTHS About Climate Change', for the July edition of SatMagazine.

Uncertainties for Earth Observation training course - 3-4 July 2014:
NPL hosted a free, two-day training course on 3 and 4 July on uncertainty analysis for earth observation measurements, with particular emphasis on the calibration and characterisation of remote sensing radiometric instruments: both pre-flight satellite instruments and for ground validation instrumentation. More information can be found here

February 2014

Joanna Coote, is a recipient of an EMRP Researcher Excellence Grant to undertake research complementary to MetEOC. Joanna is a photonics design engineer at ZiNIR and a summary of her recent work is featured on their website here and here

November 2013

Funding has been awarded for MetEOC2, a follow on to the MetEOC project. The European Metrology Research Programme Funding (EMRP) awarded the funding under their 2013 Call - Energy & Environment, and the project will begin in 2014. MetEOC2 is led by NPL, and is a partnership between CMI (Czech Republic), CNAM (France), INRIM (Italy), MIKES (Finland), PTB (Germany), SFI Davos (Switzerland), VSL (Netherlands), BUW (Germany), DLR (Germany), FGI (Finland), FZJ (Germany) and STFC (UK).

The MetEOC2 poster gives an overview of what the project aims to achieve.

September 2013

NPL's Dr Nigel Fox gave a presentation at the ESA Living Planet Symposium on "TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies): A mission to achieve 'climate quality' data" (abstract).

June 2013

B. Gutschwager, E. Theocharous, C. Monte, A. Adibekyan, M. Reiniger, N.P. Fox, J. Hollandt of PTB and NPL have their paper 'Comparison of the radiation temperature scales of the PTB and the NPL in the temperature range from -57 °C to 50 °C' published in Measurement Science and Technology (here).

S. Mekaoui and G. Zibordi of JRC have their paper 'Cosine error for a class of hyper-spectral irradiance sensors' published in Metrologia (here)

F. Olschewski, A. Ebersoldt, F. Friedl-Vallon, B. Gutschwager, J. Hollandt, A. Kleinert, C. Monte, C. Piesch, P. Preusse, C. Rolf, P. Steffens, and R. Koppmann of PTB and BUW have their paper 'The in-flight blackbody calibration system for the GLORIA interferometer on board an airborne research platform' published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (here).

C. Monte, B. Gutschwager, A. Adibekyan, M. Kehrt, F. Olschewski, J. Hollandt of PTB and BUW have their paper 'Radiometric Calibration of the In-flight Blackbody Calibration System of the GLORIA Interferometer' published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (here).

NPL's Paul Green presented 'Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies (TRUTHS)' at the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI) Future Missions Challenge Workshop (here).

March 2013

This stretch of the project has utilised and refined the infrastructure created in the opening part of the project through 1) the characterisation of stray-light properties of an airborne hyperspectral imager and set of ocean colour sensors using the spectrally tuneable laser, 2) construction and testing of a large aperture radiance source (lamp), 3) pre- and post-flight characterisation of the new black bodies used for in-flight calibration and, 4) the design of a new LED-based, self-calibrating radiometer, as well as testing of its constituent components.

D'Odorico, P., Gonsamo, A., Damm, A. and Schaepman, M.E. of RSL have their paper 'Experimental evaluation of Sentinel-2 spectral response functions for NDVI time-series continuity' published in IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (here)

October 2012

F. Olschewski, C. Rolf, P. Steffens, A. Kleinert, C. Piesch, A. Ebersoldt, C. Monte, B. Gutschwager, J. Hollandt, P. Preusse, F. Friedl-Vallon, Ralf Koppmann of PTB and BUW have their paper 'In-flight blackbody calibration sources for the GLORIA interferometer' published in Proc. SPIE 8511, Infrared Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XX.

September 2012

The first year of the project has focused on the development of instrumentation for laboratory and field based measurements, as well as for the SI uncertainty assessment of radiative transfer algorithms. The MetEOC consortium have demonstrated the use of 1) high performance black body targets for an airborne limb sounding experiment, 2) spectrally tuneable laser based sources for the calibration of stray light and radiance in the field and laboratory (<0.5% uncertainty) and, 3) a new method to assign SI traceability to radiative transfer models based on simulations of calibrated 3D targets.

August 2012

G. Zibordi, K. Ruddick, I. Ansko, G. Moore, S. Kratzer, J. Icely, and A. Reinart of JRC have their paper 'In situ determination of the remote sensing reflectance: an inter-comparison' published in Ocean Sciences.

Koppmann, R., F. Olschewski, P. Steffens, C. Rolf, P. Preusse, A. Ebersoldt, F. Friedl-Vallon, A. Kleinert, C. Piesch, J. Hollandt, B. Gutschwager and C. Monte of PTB and BUW present 'An in-flight blackbody calibration source for the GLORIA interferometer on board of an airborne research platform' at the International Radiation Symposium (Berlin, Germany) (abstract).

July 2012

NPL's Dr Nigel Fox gives an interview to Nature Climate Change concerning MetEOC measurement challenges (here)

March 2012

C. Monte, B. Gutschwager, A. Adibekyan, M. Kehrt, F. Olschewski, J. Hollandt of PTB and BUW present 'Radiation thermometry for remote sensing at PTB' at the Ninth International Temperature Symposium (abstract).

November 2011

Beyond Recycling: Using Photonics to Save the Planet European Metrology for Earth Observation and Climate (MetEOC) project article from European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) (here).

November 2011

Beyond Recycling: Using Photonics to Save the Planet

European Metrology for Earth Observation and Climate (MetEOC) project article from European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) - November 2011