Earth  ID: 3107

Instantaneous Outgoing Longwave Flux (WMS)

The Earth's climate is determined by energy transfer from the sun to the Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. As the Earth rotates, the sun lights up only part of the Earth at a time, and some of that incoming solar energy is reflected and some is absorbed, depending on type of area it lights. The amount of reflection and absorption is critical to the climate. An instrument named CERES orbits the Earth every 99 minutes and measures the reflected solar energy. This animation shows the outgoing thermal radiation measured by CERES during 29 orbits on June 20 and 21 of 2003. Thermal radiation is longwave radiation and depends on the temperature of the earth, with the most intense radiation coming from the warmest regions and the least from cold clouds in the atmosphere. Although cold clouds and the cold Antarctic night regions can be seen in this data, the Earth radiates pretty uniformly in the longwave bands because the atmosphere distributes the heat of the sun to the whole planet.

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Visualization Credits

Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Eric Sokolowsky (GST): Animator
Bruce A. Wielicki (NASA/LaRC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Aqua/CERES/Outgoing Longwave Radiation Flux
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.

Dates of Data Used:

This item is part of this series:

GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Radiation >> Outgoing Longwave Radiation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Heat Budget >> Longwave Radiation
NASA Science >> Earth

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