NASA News

Chris Rink
757-864-6786, 757-344-7711
christopher.p.rink@nasa.gov
12.18.09
 
RELEASE : 09-102
 
 
NASA Langley Recognized for Research on Earth's Changing Climate
 
 
HAMPTON, Va. -- A NASA Langley Research Center-led team has been recognized with a prestigious award for helping scientists better understand our home planet. NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior presented the William T. Pecora Award to the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) team.

The two agencies present individual and group Pecora Awards to honor outstanding contributions in the field of remote sensing and its application to understanding Earth. The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of William T. Pecora, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and under secretary of the Department of the Interior.

This year's award was presented Dec. 17 in San Francisco during the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The presentation was made by Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Norman Loeb and Bruce Wielicki of NASA Langley accepted the award on behalf of the CERES team.

"The CERES team winning the Pecora award is a great honor," said Loeb, the principal investigator for CERES. "It's truly the result of years of hard work from many different teams with the hope of many years to come."

The CERES team has compiled a critical data set for monitoring and predicting climate change. The data set, which comes from five instruments on three spacecraft, is being used to improve our understanding of the natural and human-induced changes in the climate through accurate measurements of the Earth's radiative energy balance. This balance is the amount of energy Earth receives from the sun and keeps in the atmosphere or radiates back into space. Along with measurements of oceans, land, snow, ice, clouds, aerosols and meteorology, CERES data products provide a scientific basis for developing global environmental policies.

"CERES is a major NASA success story," said Freilich. "The team has made an exceptional contribution to understanding the Earth system. This interagency, academic, international effort has resulted in critical data that, among other benefits, has supported the conclusions of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The CERES instruments provide highly accurate measurements of the radiative energy balance at multiple layers in the atmosphere. In addition, the CERES team developed a rapid-response product that provides a measure of the amount of solar energy at Earth's surface. These data are used by agricultural resource managers to gauge soil moisture and by engineers monitoring and designing solar power applications.

For more information about CERES and other NASA programs visit:



 

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