Monthly Reflected Shortwave Radiation

  • Released Thursday, October 24, 2013

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.

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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.

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, October 24, 2013.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:24 AM EST.


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