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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
31 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
In-Flight Calibration of SCIAMACHY’s Polarization Sensitivity
Patricia Liebing1,a, Matthijs Krijger2,b, Ralph Snel2,c, Klaus Bramstedt1, Stefan Noël1, Heinrich Bovensmann1, and John P. Burrows1 1Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Germany
2SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, the Netherlands
anow at: Leiden Observatory, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
bnow at: Earth Space Solutions, Utrecht, the Netherlands
ccurrently at: TNO, Stieltjesweg 1, 2628 CK Delft, the Netherlands
Abstract. This paper describes the in-flight calibration of the polarization response of the SCIAMACHY Polarization Measurement Devices and a selected region of its science channels. With the lack of polarized calibration sources it is not possible to obtain such a calibration from dedicated calibration measurements. Instead, the Earth shine itself, together with a simplified Radiative Transfer Model, is used to derive time- and measurement configuration dependent polarization sensitivities. The results are compared to an instrument model that describes the degradation of the instrument as a result of a slow build up of contaminant layers on its elevation and azimuth scan mirrors. This comparison reveals significant differences between the model prediction and the data, suggesting an unforeseen change between on-ground and in-flight in at least one of the polarization sensitive components of the optical bench. The possibility of mechanisms other than scan mirror contamination contributing to the degradation of the instrument will be discussed. The data are consistent with a polarization phase shift occurring in the beam split prism used to divert the light coming from the telescope to the different channels and Polarization Measurement Devices. The extension of the instrument degradation model with a linear retarder enables the determination of the relevant parameters to describe this phase shift, and ultimately results in a significant improvement of the polarization measurements as well as the polarization response correction of measured radiances.

Citation: Liebing, P., Krijger, M., Snel, R., Bramstedt, K., Noël, S., Bovensmann, H., and Burrows, J. P.: In-Flight Calibration of SCIAMACHY’s Polarization Sensitivity, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Patricia Liebing et al.
Patricia Liebing et al.
Patricia Liebing et al.


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Short summary
This article describes a method to determine the polarization sensitivity of SCIAMACHY, a spectrometer on ENVISAT, from in-orbit data. Polarization is a preference of a direction in which light oscillates, and many optical instruments suffer from a dependence of their measured signals on this. To measure and correct for this effect, a statistical analysis of in-flight data, combined with a model of the atmosphere and the instrument was performed, showing that the instrument changed after launch.
This article describes a method to determine the polarization sensitivity of SCIAMACHY, a...