The NASA Glory mission is intended to facilitate and improve upon long-term monitoring of two key forcings influencing global climate. One of the mission's principal objectives is to determine the global distribution of detailed aerosol and cloud properties with unprecedented accuracy, thereby facilitating the quantification of the aerosol direct and indirect radiative forcings. The other is to continue the 28-yr record of satellite-based measurements of total solar irradiance from which the effect of solar variability on the Earth's climate is quantified. These objectives will be met by flying two state-of-the-art science instruments on an Earth-orbiting platform. Based on a proven technique demonstrated with an aircraft-based prototype, the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS) will collect accurate multiangle photopolarimetric measurements of the Earth along the satellite ground track within a wide spectral range extending from the visible to the shortwave infrared. The Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) is an improved version of an instrument currently flying on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) and will provide accurate and precise measurements of spectrally integrated sunlight illuminating the Earth. Because Glory is expected to fly as part of the A-Train constellation of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, the APS data will also be used to improve retrievals of aerosol climate forcing parameters and global aerosol assessments with other A-Train instruments. In this paper, we detail the scientific rationale and objectives of the Glory mission, explain how these scientific objectives dictate the specific measurement strategy, describe how the measurement strategy will be implemented by the APS and TIM, and briefly outline the overall structure of the mission. It is expected that the Glory results will be used extensively by members of the climate, solar, atmospheric, oceanic, and environmental research communities as well as in education and outreach activities.

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Footnotes

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing, Goleta, California

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia