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CERES Brochure


CERES Objectives

The scientific justification for the CERES measurements can be summarized by three assertions: (1) changes in the radiative energy balance of the Earth-atmosphere system can cause long-term climate changes (e.g., carbon dioxide inducing global warming); (2) besides the systematic diurnal and seasonal cycles of incoming solar energy, changes in cloud properties (amount, height, optical thickness) cause the largest changes of the Earth's radiative energy balance; and (3) cloud physics is one of the weakest components of current climate models used to predict potential global climate change.

CERES has four main objectives:

  1. For climate change analysis, provide a continuation of the ERBE record of radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), analyzed using the same algorithms that produced the ERBE data.
  2. Double the accuracy of estimates of radiative fluxes at TOA and the Earth's surface.
  3. Provide the first long-term global estimates of the radiative fluxes within the Earth's atmosphere.
  4. Provide cloud property estimates that are consistent with the radiative fluxes from surface to TOA.

To address the scientific priorities and accomplish these ambitious objectives, stringent accuracy criteria have been established for CERES 1-degree regions as shown in the table below.

CERES TOA Net Flux Error Budget (Watts/meter2)
Source of Error Monthly Average
Regional 5-yr trend
Monthly Average
Regional, 1σ
Daily Average
Regional, 1σ
Angular Sampling 0.0 1.2 3.5
Time Sampling 0.0 2.3 8.1
Space Sampling 0.4 0.4 2.0
Instrument Calibration 0.3 1.6 1.6
Total 0.5 3 9

Science Requirement < 1 2 - 5 5 - 10

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  Image: NASA Logo NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
Page Curator: Edward Kizer
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Site Last Modified: 02/22/2017 13:50:06 EST