Influence of Clouds and Aerosols on the Earth’s Radiation Budget Using Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Measurements

Authors: Norman G. Loeb and Bruce A. Wielicki
Affiliation: NASA Langley Research Center

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) provides highly accurate top-of-atmosphere (TOA) shortwave (SW), longwave (LW) and window (WN) radiance measurements and radiative flux estimates together with coincident cloud and aerosol properties inferred from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). These data are needed to investigate the critical role that clouds and aerosols play in modulating the radiative energy flow within the Earth-atmosphere system and for validating climate models that predict the climate system’s response to forced perturbations, such as an enhanced concentration of greenhouse gases and solar radiative forcing.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of a new generation of radiation budget products from CERES and highlight advances over previous experiments such as the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE). Recent results will be presented to demonstrate how the combined use of CERES and MODIS measurements provides unprecedented quantitative information needed to improve our understanding of how aerosols and the major cloud types influence the Earth’s radiation budget. Results demonstrating the value of long-term radiation budget data sets that span decades will also be presented.