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Measurement for our planet
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Measurement for our planet

As COP26 approaches, discover how NPL plays a key role in enabling climate action through the delivery of accurate, reliable data that supports decision making and enables low carbon innovation.

1987

Celebrating 120 years of measurement science

1987: New cryogenic radiometer paves the way for improved climate records

In 1987, NPL developed the first cryogenic radiometer which compares the heating effect of optical radiation to that of electrical power. The cryogenic radiometer is now the primary standard for optical radiometry in most national metrology institutes.

Today, TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies) is being developed as a climate mission, led by the UK Space Agency, and being delivered by the European Space Agency. The mission is unique in that it will fly a cryogenic radiometer into space – effectively putting NPL’s primary standard and radiometric calibration laboratories into orbit.  TRUTHS will improve confidence in Earth Observation data gathered from space and the forecasts driven by this data. It will perform its own climate-quality measurements of the Earth and Sun and will also be used to improve the calibration on existing Earth observation sensors, improving the quality of climate data records.

NPL is improving the accuracy of Earth observation data to increase trust in climate change modelling.  

Discover more about NPL's research into Earth observation

Discover more about the TRUTHS programme

1987