Earth  ID: 3108

Instantaneous Outgoing Shortwave 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 reflected solar radiation measured by CERES during 29 orbits on June 20 and 21 of 2003. Reflected solar radiation is shortwave radiation, and the most intense reflection comes from clouds, followed by ice. Land reflects only a small amount of radiation, but ocean reflects the least, which is the reason that the sun heats the oceans so effectively. Of course, there is no reflected solar radiation in regions of night.

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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 Shortwave 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 >> Shortwave Radiation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Heat Budget >> Shortwave 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