The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project provides observations of Earth’s radiation budget using measurements from CERES instruments onboard the Terra, Aqua and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellites. As the objective is to create a long-term climate data record, it is necessary to periodically reprocess the data in order to incorporate the latest calibration changes and algorithm improvements. Here, we focus on the improvements and validation of CERES Terra and Aqua radiances in Edition 4, which are used to generate higher-level climate data products. Onboard sources indicate that the total (TOT) channel response to longwave (LW) radiation has increased relative to the start of the missions by 0.4% to 1%. In the shortwave (SW), the sensor response change ranges from −0.4% to 0.6%. To account for in-orbit changes in SW spectral response function (SRF), direct nadir radiance comparisons between instrument pairs on the same satellite are made and an improved wavelength dependent degradation model is used to adjust the SRF of the instrument operating in a rotating azimuth plane scan mode. After applying SRF corrections independently to CERES Terra and Aqua, monthly variations amongst these instruments are highly correlated and the standard deviation in the difference of monthly anomalies is 0.2 Wm−2
for ocean and 0.3 Wm−2
for land/desert. Additionally, trends in CERES Terra and Aqua monthly anomalies are consistent to 0.21 Wm−2
per decade for ocean and 0.31 Wm−2
per decade for land/desert. In the LW, adjustments to the TOT channel SRF are made to ensure that removal of the contribution from the SW portion of the TOT channel with SW channel radiance measurements during daytime is consistent throughout the mission. Accordingly, anomalies in day–night LW difference in Edition 4 are more consistent compared to Edition 3, particularly for the Aqua land/desert case.
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