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Kory J. Priestley
,
Susan Thomas
, and
G. Louis Smith

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanning radiometers have been operating to make raster scans of the moon on a quarterly basis to validate the point response function for the three channels of flight models 1–4 aboard the Terra and Aqua spacecraft. Instrument pointing accuracy was verified by this method to 0.2° for the total channel of FM-3. The point response functions were computed from the lunar observations and were found to be nominal with the exception of the FM-2 window channel, which was found to have a region of high sensitivity. This anomaly is attributed to a delamination of the detector flake from the heat sink in that region. The influence of this anomaly is accounted for by the in-flight calibration and has no adverse effect on the application of the data.

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G. Louis Smith
,
Kory J. Priestley
,
Phillip C. Hess
,
Chris Currey
, and
Peter Spence

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is a scanning radiometer for measuring Earth-emitted and -reflected solar radiation to understand Earth’s energy balance. One CERES instrument was placed into orbit aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) in 1997; two were aboard the Terra spacecraft, launched in 1999; and two were aboard the Aqua spacecraft, launched in 2002. These measurements are used together with data from higher-resolution instruments to generate a number of data products. The nominal footprint size of the pixel at Earth’s surface is 16 km in the cross-scan direction and 23 km in the scan direction for the TRMM platform and 36 km in the cross-scan direction and 46 km in the scan direction for the Terra and Aqua platforms. It is required that the location on Earth of each pixel be known to 1–2 km to use the CERES data with the higher-resolution instruments on a pixel basis. A technique has been developed to validate the computed geolocation of the measurements by use of coastlines. Scenes are chosen in which the reflected solar radiation changes abruptly from the land surface to the darker ocean surface and the Earth-emitted radiation changes from the warm land to the cool ocean, or vice versa, so that scenes can be detected both day and night. The computed coastline location is then compared with the World Bank II map. The method has been applied to data from the three spacecraft and shows that the pixel geolocations are accurate to within 10% of the pixel size and that the geolocation is adequate for current scientific investigations.

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Norman G. Loeb
,
Bruce A. Wielicki
,
Wenying Su
,
Konstantin Loukachine
,
Wenbo Sun
,
Takmeng Wong
,
Kory J. Priestley
,
Grant Matthews
,
Walter F. Miller
, and
R. Davies

Abstract

Observations from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), and Sea-Viewing Wide-Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) between 2000 and 2005 are analyzed in order to determine if these data are meeting climate accuracy goals recently established by the climate community. The focus is primarily on top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflected solar radiances and radiative fluxes. Direct comparisons of nadir radiances from CERES, MODIS, and MISR aboard the Terra satellite reveal that the measurements from these instruments exhibit a year-to-year relative stability of better than 1%, with no systematic change with time. By comparison, the climate requirement for the stability of visible radiometer measurements is 1% decade−1. When tropical ocean monthly anomalies in shortwave (SW) TOA radiative fluxes from CERES on Terra are compared with anomalies in Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) from SeaWiFS—an instrument whose radiance stability is better than 0.07% during its first six years in orbit—the two are strongly anticorrelated. After scaling the SeaWiFS anomalies by a constant factor given by the slope of the regression line fit between CERES and SeaWiFS anomalies, the standard deviation in the difference between monthly anomalies from the two records is only 0.2 W m−2, and the difference in their trend lines is only 0.02 ± 0.3 W m−2 decade−1, approximately within the 0.3 W m−2 decade−1 stability requirement for climate accuracy. For both the Tropics and globe, CERES Terra SW TOA fluxes show no trend between March 2000 and June 2005. Significant differences are found between SW TOA flux trends from CERES Terra and CERES Aqua between August 2002 and March 2005. This discrepancy is due to uncertainties in the adjustment factors used to account for degradation of the CERES Aqua optics during hemispheric scan mode operations. Comparisons of SW TOA flux between CERES Terra and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) radiative flux profile dataset (FD) RadFlux product show good agreement in monthly anomalies between January 2002 and December 2004, and poor agreement prior to this period. Commonly used statistical tools applied to the CERES Terra data reveal that in order to detect a statistically significant trend of magnitude 0.3 W m−2 decade−1 in global SW TOA flux, approximately 10 to 15 yr of data are needed. This assumes that CERES Terra instrument calibration remains highly stable, long-term climate variability remains constant, and the Terra spacecraft has enough fuel to last 15 yr.

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G. Louis Smith
,
D. K. Pandey
,
Robert B. Lee III
,
Bruce R. Barkstrom
, and
Kory J. Priestley

Abstract

The Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanning radiometer was designed to provide high accuracy measurements of the radiances from the earth. Calibration testing of the instruments showed the presence of an undesired slow transient in the measurements of all channels at 1% to 2% of the signal. Analysis of the data showed that the transient consists of a single linear mode. The characteristic time of this mode is 0.3 to 0.4 s and is much greater than that the 8–10-ms response time of the detector, so that it is well separated from the detector response. A numerical filter was designed for the removal of this transient from the measurements. Results show no trace remaining of the transient after application of the numerical filter. The characterization of the slow mode on the basis of ground calibration data is discussed and flight results are shown for the CERES instruments aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission and Terra spacecraft. The primary influence of the slow mode is in the calibration of the instrument and the in-flight validation of the calibration. This method may be applicable to other radiometers that are striving for high accuracy and encounter a slow spurious mode, regardless of the underlying physics.

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Kory J. Priestley
,
G. Louis Smith
,
Susan Thomas
,
Denise Cooper
,
Robert B. Lee III
,
Dale Walikainen
,
Phillip Hess
,
Z. Peter Szewczyk
, and
Robert Wilson

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) flight models 1 through 4 instruments were launched aboard NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua spacecraft into 705-km sun-synchronous orbits with 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. local time equatorial crossing times. With these instruments CERES provides state-of-the-art observations and products related to the earth’s radiation budget at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). The archived CERES science data products consist of geolocated and calibrated instantaneous filtered and unfiltered radiances through temporally and spatially averaged TOA, surface, and atmospheric fluxes. CERES-filtered radiance measurements cover three spectral bands: shortwave (0.3–5 μm), total (0.3>100 μm), and an atmospheric window channel (8–12 μm).

CERES climate data products realize a factor of 2–4 improvement in calibration accuracy and stability over the previotus Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) products. To achieve this improvement there are three editions of data products. Edition 1 generates data products using gain coefficients derived from ground calibrations. After a minimum of four months, the calibration data are examined to remove drifts in the calibration. The data are then reprocessed to produce the edition 2 data products. These products are available for science investigations for which an accuracy of 2% is sufficient. Also, a validation protocol is applied to these products to find problems and develop solutions, after which edition 3 data products will be computed, for which the objectives are calibration stability of better than 0.2% and calibration traceability from ground to flight of 0.25%. This paper reports the status of the radiometric accuracy and stability of the CERES edition 2 instrument data products through April 2007.

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Kory J. Priestley
,
Bruce R. Barkstrom
,
Robert B. Lee III
,
Richard N. Green
,
Susan Thomas
,
Robert S. Wilson
,
Peter L. Spence
,
Jack Paden
,
D. K. Pandey
, and
Aiman Al-Hajjah

Abstract

Each Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument contains three scanning thermistor bolometer radiometric channels. These channels measure broadband radiances in the shortwave (0.3–5.0 μm), total (0.3–>100 μm), and water vapor window regions (8–12 μm). Ground-based radiometric calibrations of the CERES flight models were conducted by TRW Inc.’s Space and Electronics Group of Redondo Beach, California. On-orbit calibration and vicarious validation studies have demonstrated radiometric stability, defined as long-term repeatability when measuring a constant source, at better than 0.2% for the first 18 months of science data collection. This level exceeds by 2.5 to 5 times the prelaunch radiometric performance goals that were set at the 0.5% level for terrestrial energy flows and 1.0% for solar energy flows by the CERES Science Team. The current effort describes the radiometric performance of the CERES Proto-Flight Model on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission spacecraft over the first 19 months of scientific data collection.

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Norman G. Loeb
,
Kory J. Priestley
,
David P. Kratz
,
Erika B. Geier
,
Richard N. Green
,
Bruce A. Wielicki
,
Patricia O’Rawe Hinton
, and
Sandra K. Nolan

Abstract

A new method for determining unfiltered shortwave (SW), longwave (LW), and window radiances from filtered radiances measured by the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) satellite instrument is presented. The method uses theoretically derived regression coefficients between filtered and unfiltered radiances that are a function of viewing geometry, geotype, and whether cloud is present. Relative errors in instantaneous unfiltered radiances from this method are generally well below 1% for SW radiances (std dev ≈0.4% or ≈1 W m−2 equivalent flux), less than 0.2% for LW radiances (std dev ≈0.1% or ≈0.3 W m−2 equivalent flux), and less than 0.2% (std dev ≈0.1%) for window channel radiances.

When three months (June, July, and August of 1998) of CERES Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE)-like unfiltered radiances from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite between 20°S and 20°N are compared with archived Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) scanner measurements for the same months over a 5-yr period (1985–89), significant scene-type dependent differences are observed in the SW channel. Full-resolution CERES SW unfiltered radiances are ≈7.5% (≈3 W m−2 equivalent diurnal average flux) lower than ERBS over clear ocean, as compared with ≈1.7% (≈4 W m−2 equivalent diurnal average flux) for deep convective clouds and ≈6% (≈4–6 W m−2 equivalent diurnal average flux) for clear land and desert. This dependence on scene type is shown to be partly caused by differences in spatial resolution between CERES and ERBS and by errors in the unfiltering method used in ERBS. When the CERES measurements are spatially averaged to match the ERBS spatial resolution and the unfiltering scheme proposed in this study is applied to both CERES and ERBS, the ERBS all-sky SW radiances increase by ≈1.7%, and the CERES radiances are now consistently ≈3.5%–5% lower than the modified ERBS values for all scene types. Further study is needed to determine the cause for this remaining difference, and even calibration errors cannot be ruled out. CERES LW radiances are closer to ERBS values for individual scene types—CERES radiances are within ≈0.1% (≈0.3 W m−2) of ERBS over clear ocean and ≈0.5% (≈1.5 W m−2) over clear land and desert.

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