3.2 Measuring Earth Radiation Budget with ERBE and CERES: A Change of Paradigm

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 4:15 PM
Conference Center: Yakima 2 (Washington State Convention Center )
G. Louis Smith, Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, VA; and T. Wong and N. Loeb

Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) Project started in 1978 and included wide field-of-view (WFOV) and scanning radiometers on each of three spacecraft. This project relied heavily on the experience gained from NOAA’s Earth Radiation Budget (ERB) instrument.

The WFOV radiometers were to provide measurements of Earth radiation for study of climate at large time and space scales. The scanner was to produce daily maps of radiation at 2.5o resolution. The ERBE scanners operated more than two years up to five years and the WFOV radiometers gave data for up to 15 years. Much research was done with the scanner data, particularly in defining the role of clouds in governing our climate.  Limited use has been made of the WFOV data to date for studying radiative impacts of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the decadal variability of earth radiation budget in the tropics.

The Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) project only uses scanners. Flight Models 1 and 2 flew on the Terra spacecraft in December 1999 and have provided Earth radiation data for over 16 years with no problems. In 2002 FM-3 and -4 were put in space on the Aqua spacecraft and began operating in June. FM-3 has operated flawlessly for nearly 14 years (as of this writing). To assure continuity of the Earth Radiation Budget Climate Data Record, CERES FM-5 on the Suomi NPP spacecraft has been flown since October 2011 and is continuously collecting data since February 2012.  Additional future scanner missions on the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 and -2 satellites are being readied. The JPSS-1 satellite carrying the CERES FM-6 instrument, is currently scheduled to be launch into space in early 2017.

Over time the reliability of satellite instruments has improved drastically. Consequently the paradigm has changed. The longevity of scanning radiometers is now great enough that WFOV radiometers are no longer needed. However, for the first quarter of a century of the Earth Radiation Budget Climate Data Record, data from ERB and ERBE WFOV instruments cover most of the time. Any investigation requiring measurements over a period exceeding 16 years must use WFOV data.


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