Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRM) are a suite of independent, fully characterized, and traceable ground measurements that follow the guidelines outlined by the GEO/CEOS Quality Assurance framework for Earth Observation (QA4EO). These FRM provide the maximum Return On Investment (ROI) for a satellite mission by delivering, to users, the required confidence in data products, in the form of independent validation results and satellite measurement uncertainty estimation, over the entire end-to-end duration of a satellite mission. Within this context, the SPPA team manages a series of projects targeting the validation of ESA altimetry, atmosphere, land, and ocean products.
The overall objective of the project is to improve and harmonize the data products from UV- Visible ground based DOAS spectrometers, in particular MAXDOAS and Pandora, to arrive at Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRMs) for air-quality. DOAS/MAXDOAS instruments provide highly relevant validation data for current, past and future atmospheric chemistry satellite nadir missions such as GOME(-2), SCIAMACHY, OMI, S4 and S5 but also for limb/occultation instruments such as e.g. the ESA Third Party Mission SCISAT/ACE. Moreover, with the launch of S5P scheduled in mid-2016, the project will directly support the preparation of validation activities in view of the future Sentinels 4 and 5 that will provide air quality observations from space in support of the Copernicus programme.