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CERES Ocean Validation Experiment (COVE)
CERES Ocean Validation Experiment (COVE)

At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is a unique instrument platform: the Coast Guard's Chesapeake Lighthouse.

Taking advantage of it's open ocean location far from typical land-based factors, Science Directorate researchers use the lighthouse to maintain a suite of instruments that provide continuous radiation measurements and validate or provide ground truth for the satellite-based CERES instruments. Collectively, the suite of instruments is called the CERES Ocean Validation Experiment (COVE).

Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System - or CERES - data provide key knowledge about Earth's changing climate and are used to study the energy exchanged between the Sun; the Earth's atmosphere, surface and clouds; and space.

COVE instruments and measurements include the Baseline Surface Radiation Network instrument suite - uplooking shaded and unshaded broadband pyranometers, shaded pyrgeometers; downlooking pyranometers and pyrgeometers; normal incidence pyrheliometers; an AERONET sunphotometer; uplooking and downlooking multifilter rotating shadowband radiometers (MFRSRs); a micropulse lidar; pressure; temperature; relative humidity; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) global positioning system integrated precipitable water vapor (GPS-IPW); and National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) wave height and period.

Fred Denn, a COVE scientist with SSAI at NASA Langley, adjusts an instrument on the lookout tower of the lighthouse, about 120 feet (36.5 m) above the ocean surface. Langley researchers travel to the lighthouse every few weeks to adjust and maintain the instruments and conduct research.

Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Page Last Updated: August 21st, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator