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The Best of CERES

These plots are climatological annual and seasonal means of data obtained from the NASA Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanner instruments onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites during July 2005 through June 2015.

These images are provided by the NASA CERES Project. You may use them freely in your presentation or publication. We hope you find them useful. We do request that you provide the following credit line, “Image credit: Image courtesy of the CERES Science Team at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, USA”, if these images are used.

Images centered on the 180th meridian.

TOA Solar Incoming RadiationTOA Solar Incoming Radiation AnnualTOA Solar Incoming Radiation DJFTOA Solar Incoming Radiation MAMTOA Solar Incoming Radiation JJATOA Solar Incoming Radiation SON
TOA Reflected Shortwave RadiationTOA Reflected Shortwave Radiation AnnualTOA Reflected Shortwave Radiation DJFTOA Reflected Shortwave Radiation MAMTOA Reflected Shortwave Radiation JJATOA Reflected Shortwave Radiation SON
TOA Outgoing Longwave RadiationTOA Outgoing Longwave Radiation AnnualTOA Outgoing Longwave Radiation DJFTOA Outgoing Longwave Radiation MAMTOA Outgoing Longwave Radiation JJATOA Outgoing Longwave Radiation SON
TOA Net Downward RadiationTOA Net Downward Radiation AnnualTOA Net Downward Radiation DJFTOA Net Downward Radiation MAMTOA Net Downward Radiation JJATOA Net Downward Radiation SON
TOA AlbedoTOA Albedo AnnualTOA Albedo DJFTOA Albedo MAMTOA Albedo JJATOA Albedo SON
TOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave RadiationTOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave Radiation AnnualTOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave Radiation DJFTOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave Radiation MAMTOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave Radiation JJATOA Clear-sky Reflected Shortwave Radiation SON
TOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave RadiationTOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave Radiation AnnualTOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave Radiation DJFTOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave Radiation MAMTOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave Radiation JJATOA Clear-sky Outgoing Longwave Radiation SON
TOA Clear-sky Net Downward RadiationTOA Clear-sky Net Downward Radiation AnnualTOA Clear-sky Net Downward Radiation DJFTOA Clear-sky Net Downward Radiation MAMTOA Clear-sky Net Downward Radiation JJATOA Clear-sky Net Downward Radiation SON
TOA Clear-sky AlbedoTOA Clear-sky Albedo AnnualTOA Clear-sky Albedo DJFTOA Clear-sky Albedo MAMTOA Clear-sky Albedo JJATOA Clear-sky Albedo SON
Cloud Area FractionCloud Area Fraction AnnualCloud Area Fraction DJFCloud Area Fraction MAMCloud Area Fraction JJACloud Area Fraction SON
Cloud Effective PressureCloud Effective Pressure AnnualCloud Effective Pressure DJFCloud Effective Pressure MAMCloud Effective Pressure JJACloud Effective Pressure SON
Cloud Effective TemperatureCloud Effective Temperature AnnualCloud Effective Temperature DJFCloud Effective Temperature MAMCloud Effective Temperature JJACloud Effective Temperature SON
Cloud Visible Optical DepthCloud Visible Optical Depth AnnualCloud Visible Optical Depth DJFCloud Visible Optical Depth MAMCloud Visible Optical Depth JJACloud Visible Optical Depth SON

Public Release Satellite Images

Additional CERES Press Release Images & Animations

CERES Aqua Poster
CERES-Aqua Poster
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Two Spheres of the Earth
High Resolution Image (Size: 14 MB) Animation of Still Image (Size: 2 MB)
Color bar Color bar

For scientists to understand climate, they must also determine what drives the changes within the Earth’s radiation balance. From March 2000 to May 2001, CERES measured some of these changes and produced new images that dynamically show heat (or thermal radiation) emitted to space from Earth’s surface and atmosphere (left sphere) and sunlight reflected back to space by the ocean, land, aerosols, and clouds (right sphere).

US Heat Wave
High Resolution Image (Size: 14 MB)Animation of Still Image (Size: 2 MB)
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Record setting U.S. heat wave

CERES measured thermal radiation or heat emitted from the United States, as shown in this image from May 2001. The record-setting high temperatures experienced in Southern California and Nevada on May 9 are visible in the yellow areas where great amounts of thermal energy are escaping to space. The levels of energy increase from blue to red to yellow. This example illustrates one of the most basic stabilizing forces in the Earth’s climate system: clear hot regions lose more energy to space than cold areas. The blue regions of low thermal emission over the northern U.S. are cold cloud tops. CERES data will be used to verify the ability of climate models to accurately predict this emission as our world experiences changes in surface reflectivity, clouds, atmospheric temperatures, and key greenhouse gases such as water vapor. The CERES data shown in this image are 14-day running average values of thermal radiation emitted to space.

Pakistan Heat Wave
High Resolution Image (Size: 14 MB)Animation of Still Image (Size: 2 MB)
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Deadly May heat wave in Pakistan

CERES also measured the thermal energy emitted from the regions of the Indian subcontinent and northern Africa, as shown in this image from May 2001. The heat wave in Pakistan that killed at least 33 people the weekend of May 5-6 is seen in yellow as a region emitting high values of thermal energy.

Reflected Solar Energy
High Resolution Image (Size: 14 MB)Animation of Still Image (Size: 2 MB)
Color bar

What do the colors mean–The lowest amount of sunlight reflected back to space, shown in blue, occurs over clear ocean areas. Green colors show gradually increasing amounts of reflected sunlight. The areas of greatest reflected solar energy, shown in white, occur both from the tops of thick clouds and from ice-covered regions on the Earth’s surface during summer.

The amount of incoming solar energy the Earth receives on June 21, the first day of summer, is 30 percent higher at the North Pole than at the equator. Just 6 months later in winter, the entire polar cap receives no energy since Earth’s movement along its orbit has pointed the North Pole away from the Sun. This swing of illumination and reflection is shown dramatically in the CERES animation. Critical to understanding future climate are the subtle changes in reflected solar energy, such as changes in the surface area of the arctic ice cap or in cloud thickness. Ever-changing cloud cover or the seasonal retreat and advance of sea ice cause motion in this image. The CERES data shown in this image are 14-day running average values of sunlight reflected back to space.