The Libera instrument is a new sensor that will fly on the JPSS-3 mission and observe the balance between solar radiation entering Earth’s atmosphere and the amount absorbed, reflected, and emitted. This radiation balance is a key factor in determining our climate: if Earth absorbs more heat than it emits, it warms up; if it emits more than it absorbs, it cools down.
Libera is a follow-on to the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiation Energy System (CERES) instruments that flew on Suomi NPP and NOAA-20. It will help maintain the 40-year data record of the solar radiation balance.
The specific wavelength ranges Libera will observe will allow scientists to understand changes to Earth’s climate system, such as whether the planet is heating up or cooling down.
Libera is named after the daughter of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The name acknowledges the relationship between this new instrument and its predecessor, the CERES instrument. Six CERES instruments are currently collecting data on NASA and NOAA satellites.
- The observations from Libera will help measure the effect of clouds on Earth’s energy balance, which strongly influences both weather and climate.
- Libera will continue the observations of the CERES instrument, allowing scientists to validate models that calculate the effect of clouds in driving planetary heating or cooling.
- Libera’s global observations will provide data for improving seasonal climate forecasts, including cloud and radiative aspects of large-scale climate events like El Niño and La Niña.