G2.16   Missing agreement on calibration best practices and MWR instrument error characterization

Gap detailed description

Common procedures are applied by the operators to perform MWR calibration and instrument error characterization. Currently, these procedures are for the most part provided by the manufacturers and thus they are often instrument specific. Therefore, there is currently a lack of standardization in calibration procedures and uncertainty characterization. This in turn impacts negatively on the harmonization of products provided by a heterogeneous MWR network. This gap shall be addressed at both manufacturer and network levels. An attempt is currently being carried on within the EU COST action TOPROF. Progress will be reported within GAIA-CLIM.

Activities within GAIA-CLIM related to this gap

The activities within GAIA-CLIM are to follow the developments at TOPROF and report to GAIA-CLIM as well as MWR users/manufacturers. The currently available practices for MWR calibration and uncertainty characterization have been reviewed by the EU COST Action TOPROF Working Group on Microwave Radiometers (WG3). A first report is now available, including recommendations for calibration and uncertainty characterization. Manufacturers are also proposing new developments to make the calibration process easier. Further activities will be followed and reported within the GAIA-CLIM project.

Gap remedy(s)

Remedy #1

Specific remedy proposed

The currently available practices for MWR calibration and error characterization shall be reviewed. From these, the best practices should be defined and reported, and the documentation shall be made available to operators and users. This task is currently tackled within the EU COST Action TOPROF by the Working Group on Microwave Radiometers (WG3).

Measurable outcome of success

A successful outcome is the dissemination of TOPROF findings to MWR manufacturers and users. An additional measure of success is the effective usage of the proposed calibration and uncertainty characterization procedures by MWR manufacturers and users.

Achievable outcomes

Technological / organizational viability: high.  First reports are available and the cooperation with manufacturers is established. The transfer to MWR network management provides some organizational challenges.

Indicative cost estimate: low (<1 million).


The remedy will foster the application of standardized calibration and uncertainty characterizationprocedures by MWR manufacturers and users.


1 year.

Gap risks to non-resolution

Identified future risk / impact

Probability of occurrence if gap not remedied

Downstream impacts on ability to deliver high quality services to science / industry / society

MWR instrument reliability varying throughout a network


Lack of network-harmonised MWR products


Work package: