The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) rely on scanning thermistor bolometer radiometers of a similar design for accomplishing their mission. High-level dynamic electrothermal models of these instruments have been developed on the basis of the Monte Carlo ray-trace, finite-difference, and finite-element methods. The models are capable of simulating the end-to-end response of the ERBE and the CERES instruments to simulated sequences of Earth scenes. Such models will prove useful in the design of future generations of similar instruments, in defining ground-based and in-flight calibration and data-reduction strategies, in the interpretation of flight data, and in understanding data anomalies that might arise after the instruments have been placed in orbit. Two modules that make up the end-to-end model are presented: the optical–thermal radiative module and the thermistor bolometer dynamic electrothermal module. The optics module is used to determine the point-spread function of the optics, which establishes that the instrument has sharply defined footprints on the Earth. Results obtained with the thermistor bolometer dynamic electrothermal module provide valuable insights into the details of channel operation and establish its high level of equivalence. The combination of the two modules allows the point-spread function of the instrument to be determined and reveals the potential of this tool for scanning realistic Earth scenes.
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