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Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES)

Who are we?

As part of the NASA Langley Science Directorate, the CERES Science, Data Management, Data Processing and Stewardship Teams are devoted to providing valuable Earth Radiation Budget data to the science community. The CERES experiment is one of the highest priority scientific satellite instruments developed for NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS). The first CERES instrument was launched in December of 1997 aboard NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), CERES instruments are now collecting observations on three separate satellite missions, including the EOS Terra and Aqua observatories and now also on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) observatory.

CERES products include both solar-reflected and Earth-emitted radiation from the top of the atmosphere to the Earth's surface. Cloud properties are determined using simultaneous measurements by other EOS and S-NPP instruments such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Visible and Infrared Sounder (VIRS). Analyses using CERES data, build upon the foundation laid by previous missions such as NASA Langley's Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), leading to a better understanding of the role of clouds and the energy cycle in global climate change.

What we do?

We provide these accurate data products and information to the public, educators, and scientists.

The CERES Team has updated its web pages, added more information about the data, and developed a new data ordering tool for browsing, subsetting, and ordering the CERES products.

In the News:

02/18/2014: NASA Satellites See Arctic Surface Darkening Faster

The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, by an amount considerably larger than previously estimated, according to a new study that uses data from instruments that fly aboard several NASA satellites.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

10/21/2013: Global Ocean Currents Explain Why Northern Hemisphere Is the Soggier One

A quick glance at a world precipitation map shows that most tropical rain falls in the Northern Hemisphere. The Palmyra Atoll, at 6 degrees north, gets 175 inches of rain a year, while an equal distance on the opposite side of the equator gets only 45 inches.

Scientists long believed that this was a quirk of Earth's geometry -- that the ocean basins tilting diagonally while the planet spins pushed tropical rain bands north of the equator. But a new University of Washington study shows that the pattern arises from ocean currents originating from the poles, thousands of miles away.

The findings, published Oct. 20 in Nature Geoscience, explain a fundamental feature of the planet's climate, and show that icy waters affect seasonal rains that are crucial for growing crops in such places as Africa's Sahel region and southern India.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

08/26/2013: Terra Celebrates 5,000th Day on Orbit

Much has changed since Magellan circumnavigated Earth almost 500 years ago or since the first astronaut orbited Earth over 50 years ago. August 26, 2013 marks another historical event in exploring our earth. Terra, the flagship Earth Observing Satellite, sees the Earth for the 5,000th day celebrating its 5,000th day on orbit.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

06/20/2013: NASA turns to CloudSpotter app to create global 'cloud atlas'

NASA has enlisted the help of smartphone users around the world to monitor the effect of clouds on the Earth's climate. Information collected by users of the CloudSpotter app External Link To Article - where people take pictures of clouds and try to identify their type - will be used by the space agency's scientists to calibrate its Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument.

CERES comprises a set of instruments on three satellites that measure the sunlight that is reflected back into space from the Earth and the heat it emits. The amount of sunlight reflected is greatly affected by cloud cover. "If you have no clouds, then clearly you are going to be seeing the Earth's surface," said Lin Chambers, a scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. "If you are over the Black Forest in Germany, you're going to get very little reflection from those trees. If there's clouds over the black forest, you would get a lot more reflection. Reflection of sunlight is strongly dependent on whether there's clouds there or not."

Since 1997, Chambers's team has worked with school pupils to gather independent observations of clouds, so that CERES scientists can ensure that the measurements recorded by the satellites tally with evidence from the ground.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

07/25/2012: NASA Video: Aqua CERES: Tracking Earth's Heat Balance

Is the heat budget of the planet changing? Thermometers on the ground can give us a snapshot of a summer heatwave or winter cold spell, but it takes something like NASA's CERES instruments to give a long term picture of whether the planet is keeping more of its heat than it loses back into space.

+ View the video: here External Link To Article

02/03/2012: "First Light" Taken by NASA's Newest CERES Instrument

The doors are open on NASA's Suomi NPP satellite and the newest version of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scanning Earth for the first time, helping to assure continued availability of measurements of the energy leaving the Earth-atmosphere system.

+ Read the whole feature online: here External Link To Article

01/26/2012: NASA-led Study Solves Case of Earth's "Missing Energy"

Two years ago, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., released a study claiming that inconsistencies between satellite observations of Earth's heat and measurements of ocean heating were evidence there is "missing energy" in the planet's system.

Where was it going? An international team of atmospheric scientists and oceanographers, led by Norman Loeb of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and including Graeme Stephens of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., set out to investigate the mystery.

+ Read the whole feature online: here External Link To Article

01/23/2012: Study plugs gap in global warming puzzle

Researchers claim to have solved the "missing energy" discrepancy between atmospheric and ocean temperature measurements, while at the same time showing that the Earth continued to accumulate heat during the last decade.

+ Read the whole feature online: here External Link To Article

Page Curator: Joanne Saunders
NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
Page Last Modified: 05/30/2014 13:50
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