The doors are open on NASA's Suomi NPP satellite and the newest version of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scanning Earth for the first time, helping to assure continued availability of measurements of the energy leaving the Earth-atmosphere system.
The CERES results help scientists to determine the Earth's energy balance, providing a long-term record of this crucial environmental parameter that will be consistent with those of its predecessors.
Thick cloud cover tends to reflect a large amount of incoming solar energy back to space (blue/green/white image), but at the same time, reduce the amount of outgoing heat lost to space (red/blue/orange image).
Contrast the areas that do not have cloud cover (darker colored regions) to get a sense for how much impact the clouds have on incoming and outgoing energy. Credit: NASA/NOAA/CERES Team