Earth Observation, Climate and Optical Radiation Metrology - National Physical Laboratory

Submitted by jt_janssen on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 11:59


Earth observation, climate and optical - improving the quality of data collected through Earth observation systems and satellites

As the UK’s National Measurement Institute, NPL has cutting edge capabilities in optical radiation metrology in the UV-Visible-IR range across a variety of applications. Our world leading expertise and SI tracible measurement facilities are applied to enabling new product development, quality assurance, health and safety, and compliance in applications as diverse as transport, pharmaceuticals, medical imaging and fashion.

Additionally, space-based sensors offer a unique opportunity to capture global data on climate over time. However, as we generate more and more data, we need to ensure that the data collected is trusted and reliable. Having reliable data from Earth observation systems is critical to achieving international targets, such as those set out in the Paris Agreement.

We are leading international activities to improve the quality and reliability of Earth observation data, and developing new measurement techniques and instrumentation to reduce the associated measurement uncertainties.

We use cutting-edge measurement across a wide range of areas relating to Earth observation:

  • Optical standards and component characterisation: improving accuracy of satellite components and providing a full range of optical performance services for other industries
  • Pre-flight satellite instrumentation calibration: providing confidence in their instrumentation
  • In-flight satellite calibration and validation: providing confidence in the accuracy and reliability of satellite sensors in orbit
  • Quality assurance and traceability of climate data: providing the confidence needed to make climate data actionable Our ambition includes the launch of a disruptive small satellite called 'TRUTHS', which would be the cornerstone of a future space climate and calibration observatory, facilitating improved confidence in climate change forecasts.

NPL, as the UK's National Measurement Institute, is the prime deliverer of the UK Measurement Strategy. NPL is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available. For more than a century, NPL has developed and maintained the nation's primary measurement standards. These standards underpin an infrastructure of traceability throughout the UK and the world that ensures accuracy and consistency of measurement.

Keywords: earth observation, climate and optical: earth observation data, optical radiation measurement, satellite validation, satellite calibration, climate change, hyperspectral imaging, colour, reflectance, radiance, irradiance, detector response.



Biological Sciences, Health & Food
E-Infrastructure & Data
Physical Sciences & Engineering
Public Policy or Delivering Public Services
Earth observation
Climate change
Satellite calibration
Optical radiation



Contact Us

📧 Public Contact email
Telephone Number
020 8977 3222
Host Organisation
National Physical Laboratory
🏢 Address

Greater London
TW11 0LW
United Kingdom

Last Updated: