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Image: TRMM Satellite

TRMM Satellite

The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) experiment will allow researchers to study the Earth's atmosphere from space. Measurements from CERES will be used to help us understand the complicated balance between the energy from the Sun which the Earth absorbs either at the surface or in the atmosphere, and the energy which is radiated from the Earth to space. If this balance changes, so will our climate (this is what happened, for example, in the Ice Ages).

In particular, CERES will help us understand how clouds influence the Earth's energy balance and the role of clouds in regulating our climate. With this increased understanding, scientists will be able to improve long term climate forecasting -- not just what the weather will be in the next few days, but will there be long term changes in the coming years: hotter summers, colder winters, and stronger storms -- and will be able to investigate on-going natural and human-induced global climate change.

Image: CERES Instrument

CERES Instrument

Image: CERES Instrument, labeled

CERES Instrument, Labeled

Because characterizing clouds is the biggest unknown in current climate prediction models, the type of measurements that CERES will provide have become one of the top scientific priorities in the U.S. Global Change Research Program. With the launch of the first CERES instrument in November 1997 on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission link to external site, we will begin to obtain this critical information. Additional flights will occur in 1998 and 2000. CERES data will become part of the planetary "health checkup" of the Earth system that will provide a baseline for measuring any future changes in the Earth's climate system.

  Image: NASA Logo NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
Page Curator: Edward Kizer
Page Last Modified: 04/03/2020 09:33:29 EST
Site Last Modified: 04/03/2020 09:33:29 EST