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NASA CERES — Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System Information and Data

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:

12/14/2015: What Happens in the Arctic Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic

Patrick Taylor from the NASA Langley Science Directorate was at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. He presented with Dr. John P. Holdren (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology).

Thursday, December 10 @ 3:45 – 4:45 PM CET (Paris) 9:45 am to 10:45 am EST.
Sponsors: NASA and U.S. Department of State

Event Summary:
Today, the Arctic is changing at a dramatic pace as a result of global warming. Temperatures in the Arctic region are rising at more than twice the average global rate -- altering the lives of its approximately four million inhabitants. The impacts of Arctic climate change have become worse with wider implications, ranging from shifts in atmospheric circulation patterns to acceleration of global sea level rise.

Wherever you are, whoever you are, you are connected to the Arctic region. The Arctic affects our daily weather, our security, the food we eat, and our vast coastlines. As the Arctic continues to warm, dangerous feedback loops come into play. Shorter winters mean an increased prevalence of carbon-releasing wildfires. Warming also promotes thawing of permafrost, soil that remains frozen throughout the year, which could release as much 150 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere by the end next century – the equivalent of adding 300 million cars to the road. Scientists and global leaders understand the transformations occurring in the Arctic as signs of the global crisis unfolding – one that can only be effectively addressed through international collaboration. This event will discuss the global implications of Arctic climate change and the international approaches needed to adequately address them.

+ View the presentation on youtube at: External Link To Article

10/13/2015: Earth's "Missing Energy"

When the mercury thermometer was invented in 1714, it took the scientific world by storm. On his transatlantic crossing in the year 1724, Benjamin Franklin recorded water temperatures by periodically dipping a thermometer into the ocean. By 1850, weather stations across the globe had gleaned a record of air temperatures over land. For the first time, scientists could track Earth’s temperature. And over time, it became clear that temperature was rising.

+ Read the rest: here External Link To Article

12/17/2014: NASA Satellites Measure Increase of Sun’s Energy Absorbed in the Arctic

NASA satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 – a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the same period.

While sea ice is mostly white and reflects the sun’s rays, ocean water is dark and absorbs the sun’s energy at a higher rate. A decline in the region’s albedo – its reflectivity, in effect – has been a key concern among scientists since the summer Arctic sea ice cover began shrinking in recent decades. As more of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the climate system, it enhances ongoing warming in the region, which is more pronounced than anywhere else on the planet.

+ Read the rest: here External Link To Article
+ View the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting Press Conference:
     Artic Heating: 15 years of Artic Sea Ice Loss and Absorbed Solar Radiation Gains. External Link To Article

08/05/2014: Norman G. Loeb presented at NASA LaRC and the Virginia Air & Space Center

On Tuesday, Aug. 5 atmospheric scientist Norm Loeb from the NASA Langley Science Directorate will present "The Recent Pause in Global Warming: A Temporary Blip or Something More Permanent?" at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center. Loeb's presentation will provide a summary on recent research related to a slow-down in surface warming referred to as the "Global Warming Hiatus." Over the last 15-years, the global mean surface temperature of Earth has increased at a rate that is roughly one-third of that over the past 60 years.

That same evening at 7:30, Loeb will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton.

The global warming hiatus occurred despite record-breaking temperatures in the 2000s, retreating Arctic sea ice, rising sea levels and a record high global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Opinions vary about the hiatus, as some view it as evidence that man-made global warming is a myth. Others explain that it is simply due to climate variability that is temporarily masking a longer-term temperature trend.

Loeb is the principal investigator of a satellite project called Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). Observations from CERES are used to determine the Earth’s radiation budget or measurements of the incoming energy from the sun and outgoing energy back to space that determines our planet's temperature and climate.

With a doctorate in atmospheric sciences from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Loeb's awards include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the William T. Pecora Group Award.

+ View the article: here External Link To Article
+ View the presentation: here

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
  Image: NASA Logo NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
Page Curator: Edward Kizer
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