Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) is an investigation to examine the role of cloud/radiation feedback in the Earth's climate system. The CERES broadband scanning radiometers are an improved version of the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) radiometers. The CERES instruments will fly on several National Aeronautics and Space Administration Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites starting in 1998 and extending over at least 15 years. The CERES science investigations will provide data to extend the ERBE climate record of top-of-atmosphere shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) radiative fluxes. CERES will also combine simultaneous cloud property data derived using EOS narrowband imagers to provide a consistent set of cloud/radiation data, including SW and LW radiative fluxes at the surface and at several selected levels within the atmosphere. CERES data are expected to provide top-of-atmosphere radiative fluxes with a factor of 2 to 3 less error than the ERBE data. Estimates of radiative fluxes at the surface and especially within the atmosphere will be a much greater challenge but should also show significant improvements over current capabilities.

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