Earth's Radiation Balance, 2000-2023
A plotted view of planetary heat uptake since the beginning of the CERES data record showing an oscillating, monthly mean (yellow) and twelve-month running average (red line). These data show how much energy is added (absorbed) by Earth during the CERES period.
The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy 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. 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.’
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. Better understanding Earth’s energy balance enables us to be informed and adapt to a changing world.
A plotted view of planetary heat uptake since the beginning of the CERES data record showing an oscillating, monthly mean (yellow) and twelve-month running average (red line). These data show how much energy is added (absorbed) by Earth during the CERES period. (1080p)
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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Datasets used in this visualization
TerraID: 114Collected with CERES
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 all pages that use this dataset
Aqua Incoming Solar RadiationID: 242Collected with CERES
Data from SORCE for the flux magnitude at the Earth's orbit, coupled with solar incidence angles based on CERES measurement locations and timesSee all pages that use this dataset
Terra Outgoing Longwave RadiationID: 485Collected with CERES
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.