The energy fluxes at the earth's surface determine, to a great extent, the thermal conditions and the circulation of the atmosphere. Accurate energy flux measurements, therefore, are essential for understanding (i) the formation of the present climate and (ii) the climatic changes of the past and the future.
The Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA) database currently stores 220 000 energy flux monthly means that have been measured at 1500 stations at the earth's surface. The station histories (i.e., records of known changes in instrumentation, data evaluation procedures, and data publication standards) are also stored in the GEBA database. Quality control procedures are applied to the energy flux data and energy flux data suspected of being afflicted with error are flagged. The GEBA database enables the efficient production of datasets for use in climate research.
GEBA datasets have been successfully used for the reevaluation of the energy balance at the earth's surface, validation of remote sensing algorithms, validation of surface energy fluxes simulated by general circulation models, investigation of the absorption of solar radiation by clouds, and evaluation of the impact of aerosols stemming from biomass burning in equatorial regions.
The GEBA database has been redesigned since 1994. This redesign included removal of contradictions in the station history data, updating of the global radiation data, and enhancement of the quality control of global radiation data. The GEBA data were made available on the Internet in October 1997.