Earth  Sun  ID: 4794

CERES Radiation Balance

The Clouds and the Earth’s Energy Radiant System (CERES) instrument is a key component of NASA’s Earth Observing System, with six active CERES instruments on satellites orbiting Earth and taking data.  

For Earth’s temperature to be stable over long periods of time, absorbed solar and emitted thermal radiation must be equal. Increases in greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, trap emitted thermal radiation from the surface and reduce how much is lost to space, resulting in a net surplus of energy into the Earth system. Most of the extra energy ends up being stored as heat in the ocean and the remainder warms the atmosphere and land, and melts snow and ice. As a consequence, global mean surface temperature increases and sea levels rise.

Much like a pulse or heartbeat, CERES monitors reflected solar and emitted thermal infrared radiation, which together with solar irradiance measurements is one of Earth’s ‘vital signs.’ Better understanding Earth’s energy balance enables us to be informed and adapt to a changing world.

Used Elsewhere In

Visualization Credits

Trent L. Schindler (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Jonathan Gleason (NASA/LARC): Lead Producer
Denise Lineberry (NASA/LARC): Lead Writer
Norman Loeb (NASA/LRC): Lead Scientist
Jefferson Beck (USRA): Producer
Ellen T. Gray (ADNET): Producer
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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Terra/CERES/Shortwave Radiation
Terra/CERES/Reflected Solar Radiation
Terra/CERES/Outgoing Longwave Radiation
Aqua/CERES/Incoming Solar Radiation
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.

SVS >> Climate
SVS >> Radiation
SVS >> Radiation budget
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Radiation >> Radiative Flux
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Climate Change
NASA Science >> Earth
NASA Science >> Sun

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version