Monthly Reflected Shortwave Radiation

  • Released Thursday, October 24, 2013
  • Updated Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 8:58AM
  • ID: 30370

If you look at Mars in the night sky, the planet is little more than a glowing dot. From Mars, Earth would have the same star-like appearance. What gives the planets this light? Do they shine like a star? No. The light is mostly reflected sunlight. These images show how much sunlight Earth reflects. Bright parts of Earth like snow, ice, and clouds, reflect the most light; dark surfaces, like the oceans, reflect less light. Earth's average temperature is determined by the balance between how much sunlight Earth reflects, how much it absorbs, and how much heat it gives off. These maps show monthly reflected-shortwave radiation from July 2006 to the present, from the Fast Longwave And Shortwave Radiative Fluxes, or FLASHFlux, Time Interpolation and Spatial Averaging (TISA) data product. The product contains daily observations collected by the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) sensors on NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. The colors in the map show the amount of shortwave energy (in Watts per square meter) that was reflected by the Earth system. The brighter, whiter regions show where more sunlight is reflected, while green regions show intermediate values, and blue regions are lower values.


Based on imagery by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory, based on FLASHFlux data. FLASHFlux data are produced using CERES observations convolved with MODIS measurements from both the Terra and Aqua satellite. Data provided by the FLASHFlux team, NASA Langley Research Center.


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

Aqua (Collected with the CERES sensor)

The CERES instrument aboard many Earth-orbiting satellites records the flow of reflected Solar radiation and reprocessed longwave radiation in the Earth's radiation budget.

See more visualizations using this data set
FLASHFlux (A.K.A. Fast Longwave And SHortwave Radiative Fluxes) (Collected with the CERES sensor)
Terra Reflected Solar Radiation (Collected with the CERES sensor)

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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