216220 Overview of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES)

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Norman Loeb, NASA/LaRC, Hampton, VA; and D. R. Doelling, S. Kato, D. P. Kratz, P. Minnis, K. J. Priestley, P. W. Stackhouse, W. Su, and T. Wong

Earth's energy budget is fundamental to climate. A small yet persistent imbalance between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the thermal radiation emitted back to space leads to global climate change. Furthermore, the distribution of radiation at all levels of the atmosphere and at the surface drives the hydrological cycle and large-scale atmospheric circulation. Improved understanding how clouds influence the Earth's energy balance is key to narrowing the uncertainty in climate sensitivity.

Observing Earth's energy flows involves a range of time and space scales and encompasses both radiative and non-radiative energy exchanges between the sun, atmosphere, cryosphere, land and the entire depth of the ocean. The central goal of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) is to produce a long-term climate data record of Earth's radiation budget at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA), within the atmosphere and at the surface, with consistent cloud and aerosol properties at climate accuracy. The CERES instrument is a 3-channel scanning radiometer designed to measure Earth's reflected solar and emitted thermal radiation at the top of the atmosphere. CERES instruments are currently flying on Terra, Aqua and Suomi NPP satellites. CERES data are merged with imager (MODIS on Terra and Aqua; VIIRS on NPP) and geostationary satellite data along with meteorological assimilation data to provide a diurnally complete characterization of clouds and radiation throughout the atmospheric column for a range of time and space scales.

This presentation summarizes some of the scientific achievements of CERES over the past decade and discusses the importance of continuing the CERES record on Suomi NPP and beyond. We discuss CERES data products used in climate studies and also highlight a growing demand for CERES data products to support the Applied Sciences community.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner