Instrument : Rotating Shadowband Spectroradiometer (RSS)

Instrument Categories

General Overview

The Rotating Shadowband Spectroradiometer (RSS) implements the same automated shadowbanding technique used by the multifilter rotating shadowband radiometer (MFRSR), and so it too provides spectrally resolved, direct-normal, diffuse-horizontal, and total-horizontal irradiances, and can be calibrated in situ via Langley regression. The irradiance spectra are measured simultaneously at all spectral elements (pixels) in 360-nm to 1050-nm range. For more detailed information, refer to the RSS Handbook. Additional documentation and publications are also available here.

All RSS105 data are available from the ARM Climate Research Facility Data Archive in netCDF format. The RSS105 data are lamp calibrated irradiances. The accuracy of irradiance produced by the RSS is expected to be better than ±5%, which includes calibration and instrument stability errors. Higher accuracy (±1%) can be obtained when the responsivity is tied to the solar extraterrestrial irradiance via Langley regression plots. This approach is recommended when high precision measurements of optical depth are required.

The calibration constants from Langley regressions plots (so-called Vo's) are available from the IOP Archive at The currently deployed RSS105 was preceded by two prototypes, RSS103 and RSS102, which operated at the SGP in three distinct periods since August 1997. Data from the two prototypes and data from the RSS105 from before March 30, 2006, are available at in ascii format.

For quality control purposes, data plots through February 27, 2008, are available from the Data Quality Health and Status Plot Browser, after selecting "SGP" for site and "sgprss" for data stream and entering "Get Plots." The QC plots for data after the redeployment in August 2009 are temporarily available here.

Output Datastreams

  • rss : Rotating Shadowband Spectroradiometer

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


 retired = Originating instrument has been retired at this location
Southern Great Plains
SGPC1 Browse DataCentral Facility, Lamont, OK retired


Scott Stierle
NOAA/ESRL/Global Monitoring Division/G-RAD
(303) 497-6620