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About the Project

Surface Radiation Budget (SRB)

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) organized and initiated the creation of multiple projects to build and assess measures of cloud and radiative processes of the Earth-atmosphere system in the 1980’s (Suttles and Ohring, 1986). Projects estimating global cloud, atmospheric temperature and water vapor, precipitation and radiation were established. One of those projects was the Surface Radiative Budget project (SRB). Later, as WCRP organized into the Global Energy and Water-cycle Experiment (and now Exchanges program called GEWEX), these data sets had derived long-term products providing information about global variability of energy and water cycles. SRB’s first data set was released in 1992 (Whitlock et al., 1995), with a second version in 2000. Release 3 was issued in 2010 (Stackhouse et al., 2011). Since then, GEWEX reorganized to formulate the Data and Assessments Panel (GDAP) aimed at performing community assessments of the long-term global data products with focus on integrating various data products to address issues in the closing of the global energy and water cycles (Kummerow et al., 2019). SRB Release 4 data set integrates data products from the cloud, aerosol, atmosphere, ocean surface, and land surface projects, coordinating within GDAP to produce a long-term time series of TOA and surface radiative estimates.

These datasets are produced by radiative transfer algorithms using cloud parameters derived from International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) products along with meteorological and other inputs from the same. The start date of July 1983 is dictated by the availability of ISCCP data. A key long-term goal is that these satellite-derived parameters have a monthly uncertainty of less than 10 Wm-2 or 5 percent, which ever is smaller. The Validation page provides a synopsis of the accuracy for the parameters currently available in SRB release version 4-IP from the NASA Langley Research Center’s Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC)

Ground-based measurements for the validation of model products are obtained from the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). Ocean-based validation is accomplished using Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) buoy observations.

Known data issues are explained on the Known Issues page.

References