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

Image: CERES Science Team

Photo date: May 2017

CERES Science Team Meeting
April 28-30, 2020

The CERES Science team will be holding their next meeting
April 28-30, 2020, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

An archive of all previous CERES Science Team meetings is available here.

Upcoming Related Conferences

Special Topic Journal Paper Collections

Earth's Energy Imbalance


12/18/2020: CERES at 20: A Continuous Record of Earth's Radiation Budget

Image: First light images from CERES FM 1 and 2. Credits: NASA
December 18, 2020 marks 20 years since the launch of two instruments that have changed the way scientists study climate.

The first two Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments (Flight Model [FM] 1 and FM2) launched aboard the Terra satellite Dec. 18, 1999, following the launch of the CERES proto-flight model (PFM) on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on Nov. 27, 1997.

Now numbering six, the CERES instruments in orbit keep watch on solar energy reflected by Earth, the heat the planet emits, and the role of clouds in that process. Essential to those measurements are the imagers that accompany the CERES instruments on the Terra, Aqua (FM3 and FM4), Suomi NPP (FM5) and NOAA 20 (FM6) satellites.

+ For more information please visit: External Link to Video

11/22/2019: GLOBE Fall Cloud Challenge Rakes in the Observations

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program's Fall Cloud Observation Challenge, led by the Science Education team at NASA Langley, took place from Oct 15 - Nov 15, 2019 and asked citizen scientists to report cloud and sky conditions. The challenge brought in more than 45,000 observations from citizen scientists in more than 17,000 locations in 93 countries on every continent including Antarctica.

Observations from volunteer citizen scientists included cloud cover and cloud type, as well as reports of purple skies, haboobs and other types of dust storms, and smoke plumes from fires. The congratulatory video on features CERES scientist Antonio Viudez Mora naming the top observers for each world region. The video was produced by NASA Langley's media team and story written by science writer Joe Atkinson. Due to the enormous amount of observations received, a series of thankful videos were recorded featuring NASA subject matter experts Ali Omar, William Smith, Tina Rogerson, and Marie Ivanco. The videos will be released on NASA GLOBE Observer social media platforms during thanksgiving week to provide further recognition and thanks for all the volunteer observations we received.

+ View the video: here External Link to Video

08/06/2019: In the News: New Models Point to More Global Warming Than We Expected

Image: NPP First Test Scans
Our planet's climate may be more sensitive to increases in greenhouse gas than we realized, according to a new generation of global climate models being used for the next major assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The findings - which run counter to a 40-year consensus - are a troubling sign that future warming and related impacts could be even worse than expected.

+ For more information please visit: External Link To Article

05/28/2019: CERES team released EBAF Edition 4.1 data product.

The CERES team announces the release of Edition 4.1 of the Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) data product. EBAF Ed4.1 leverages off of the many algorithm improvements that have been made in the Edition 4 suite of CERES level 1-3 data products.

This initial release covers the period March 2000 - January 2019. Additional months will become available as they are processed.

+ To view more details: EBAF Data Product

07/01/2018: In the News: Lake of the Clouds - Solar Radiation Monitoring Site Set Up at Granite Island

A new measurement validation site for Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) was installed on Granite Island, Michigan in Lake Superior on June 11-21, 2018. Bryan Fabbri and Fred Denn (Science Systems and Applications, Inc.) facilitated the installation. Granite Island will be used for surface validation of satellites (such as CERES).

From space, aerosols and clouds are easier to detect over a dark, more homogeneous background, the lake's surface provides this nice backdrop. Granite Island is located approximately six to seven miles from the closest land point and 12 miles due north from Marquette, MI. The new installation is fully self-sufficient.

+ For more information please visit: External Link To Article

06/13/2018: First Public Release of CERES FM6 Data Products

The Earth Radiation Budget Science Team publicly released the first data products for the CERES Flight Model 6 (FM6) instrument on JPSS/NOAA-20 on June 13, 2018. The Edition1 - Calibration / Validation is the team's first release of CERES data products using on-orbit calibration coefficients based on initial characterization of the instrument. This release provides the public with the first look at CERES FM6 data.

The CERES FM6 instrument is a broadband radiometer on the NOAA 20 spacecraft that joins a constellation of five other orbiting CERES instruments on the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra, Aqua and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) platforms. Together these instruments measure shortwave sunlight reflected by Earth and longwave heat energy emitted by Earth back into space to continue the multidecadal climate data record of Earth's Radiation Budget. Measuring the Earth's Radiation Budget over time enables us to understand how much energy the Earth system is absorbing over time and is key to understanding climate change. The CERES FM6 instrument will continue the Earth Radiation Budget climate data record started by CERES more than 18 years ago. These products will be reprocessed as an Edition2 in the near future.

+ Additional information can be found at: External Link To Article

04/17/2018: Norman Loeb presents First Light at the Fall AGU 2017 Conference

Norman Loeb presents First Light on NASA's Newest Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System. Originally presented at the Fall AGU 2017 conference on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 11:45 a.m.

+ View the video: here External Link to Video

01/16/2018: 'First Light' Images from CERES FM6 Earth-observing Instrument.

Image: NOAA-20 Launch
It's working!
The covers on the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System Flight Model 6 (CERES FM6) opened Jan. 5, allowing it to scan Earth for the first time.

The instrument was one of five that launched Nov. 18, 2017, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration's (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). After reaching polar orbit Nov. 18, the satellite became known as NOAA-20.

Cover-opening activities began around 8:30 p.m. ET Jan. 4 and were completed at approximately 1:45 a.m. Jan. 5. CERES FM6 began scanning Earth at approximately 1:25 p.m. Jan. 5. On Jan. 10, scientists used those scans to produce the "first light" images.

+ View the article: External Link To Article

11/19/2017: CERES Radiation Budget Instrument Launches Aboard NOAA-20.

Image: JPSS-1 Launch
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) blasted off the launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST) Saturday, Nov. 18. On the NOAA satellite were five science instruments, including the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System Flight Model 6 (CERES FM6), a NASA instrument that measures the solar energy reflected by Earth, the heat the planet emits, and the role of clouds in that process.

+ For more information please visit: noaa20_ceres.php
+ View the article: External Link To Article

11/09/2017: In the News: NASA Langley set for CERES launch to study Earth's energy budget

The Earth's energy budget is a complicated thing.

But understanding how much of the sun's energy hits the planet and where, how much energy the planet emits back, and the key role clouds play in that process is crucial to studying the complex processes that fuel our weather and climate, ocean currents and the interplay of our atmosphere all the way up to the biosphere.

NASA Langley Research Center has been sending instruments into orbit to study the energy budget on a global scale for 17 years now, and regionally since 1984. The Hampton facility is the only entity on the planet making those global measurements.

In the wee hours Tuesday, Langley is set to launch the sixth and last in that suite of satellite instruments, called CERES, for Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System.

+ For more information please visit: External Link To Article

10/24/2017: Keeping an Eye on Earth's Energy Budget.

The Earth and its interconnected systems have always been a fascination for Norman Loeb.

Image: Norm Loeb with CERES instrument
“It's quite an interesting thing when you think about how energy is distributed and exchanged in various forms amongst Earth's atmosphere, ocean, land and snow surfaces”, he said.

As the principal investigator of NASA's Radiaton Budget Science Project, Loeb oversees a series of space-borne instruments that measure reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. It gives him a chance to satisfy his curiosity about our home planet from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

+ View the article: External Link To Article

09/13/2017: CERES team released the Edition 4A SYN1deg data product suite.

The CERES team announces the release of the Edition4A SYN1deg data product suite. This includes TOA, surface and atmospheric radiative fluxes and cloud, aerosol and surface properties at 1x1 deg regional, 1 deg zonal and global spatial resolutions, and the following temporal resolutions: hourly (SYN1deg-1Hour), 3-hourly (SYN1deg-3Hour), daily (SYN1deg-Day), monthly (SYN1deg-Month) and monthly in hourly increments (SYN1deg-MHour).

Edition4A SYN1deg products leverage off of algorithm improvements included in the Edition4 suite of CERES levels 1 & 2 data products. Edition4A SYN1deg products are processed using consistent atmospheric reanalysis data and include hourly resolution radiative fluxes and derived cloud properties.

For variable-level subsetting, data may be ordered via the CERES Ordering Tool: External Link To Article

This initial release covers the period March 2000 - January 2017. Additional months will become available as they are processed.

08/07/2017: ERBE team released ERBS WFOV Nonscanner Observations Edition 4.0 data product.

Release of Level 3 Edition4 TOA Radiation Budget dataset from ERBS WFOV Nonscanner Observations

The ERBE team announces the release of Level 3 Edition4 top-of-atmosphere (TOA) irradiance data products from Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) wide-field-of-view (WFOV) nonscanner observations. The Edition4 dataset is available from January 1985 to December 1998. This task is made possible by the NASA Making Earth Science Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) program. NASA has been making concerted efforts to observe the Earth radiation budget (ERB) since 1984 through two projects: Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES). However, the past ERB dataset from ERBS has shown higher uncertainties in the later period and is not at the same radiometric scale as CERES. The recently released new Edition4 dataset uses improved algorithms to reprocess ERBS WFOV nonscanner observations based on lesson learned from CERES. In addition, these datasets are calibrated with CERES-derived irradiances and the spatial coverage is extended to global from 60N to 60S latitudes. The release of Edition4 ERBS datasets combined with that provided by CERES generates a long-term consistent TOA radiation budget, that spans nearly 30 years to date.

The dataset is distributed by NASA Langley Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) and is available at External Link To Article

06/10/2017: What is Earth's Energy Budget? Five Questions with a Guy Who Knows.

Earth's energy budget. Not a familiar concept? Maybe you're scratching your head, wondering, what is that? Don't worry. You're not the only one.

The good news is: We have answers. And those answers come courtesy of Norman Loeb, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Loeb is the principal investigator for an experiment called the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES). CERES instruments measure how much of the sun's energy is reflected back to space and how much thermal energy is emitted by Earth to space. Five CERES instruments are on orbit aboard three satellites, and the CERES team at Langley is preparing to launch a sixth CERES instrument, CERES FM6, to orbit later this year.

We recently sent Loeb a few questions about the energy budget. View the article to see his responses.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

06/09/2017: NASA Data Suggest Future May Be Rainier Than Expected.

A new study suggests that most global climate models may underestimate the amount of rain that will fall in Earth's tropical regions as our planet continues to warm. That's because these models underestimate decreases in high clouds over the tropics seen in recent NASA observations, according to research led by scientist Hui Su of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article

04/03/2017: NASA Image Feature -- CERES-FM6.

Image: NPP First Test Scans
The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) FM6 instrument is scheduled for launch later this year on NOAA's NOAA-20 satellite.

It will join five other CERES instruments on orbit. CERES monitors a variety of cloud properties, prevalence, altitude, thickness, and the size of cloud particles.

The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) experiment is one of the highest priority scientific satellite instruments developed for NASA's Earth Observing System.

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 instruments.

+ To view more CERES-FM6 Images: here

Who are we?

For more than 30 years, the Science Directorate at NASA's Langley Research Center has shaped how scientists measure Earth's incoming and outgoing energy. 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 collecting observations on three separate satellite missions, including the EOS Terra and Aqua observatories, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) observatory, and soon, the Joint Polar Satellite System, a partnership between NASA and NOAA. CERES FM6 launched on November 18, 2017 aboard NOAA-20, becoming the last in a generation of successful CERES instruments that help us to better observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records.

  Image: NASA Logo NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
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