The CERES Data

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I do a very large percentage of my work using CERES data. What is CERES? From their website:

Climate is controlled by the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the amount of infrared energy emitted to space. These quantities–together with their difference–define Earth’s radiation budget (ERB). The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project provides satellite-based observations of ERB and clouds. It uses measurements from CERES instruments flying on several satellites along with data from many other instruments to produce a comprehensive set of ERB data products for climate, weather and applied science research.

The data is composed of a number of individual datasets of things like the amount of sunlight reflected by the earth, the incoming solar energy from the sun, the upwelling longwave from the surface, and a host of others.

Each dataset is a 1° latitude by 1° longitude gridcell-based month-by-month record of a given quantity.

While this is good, it makes for large datasets. Each of the various datasets is 16,329,600 individual data points …

Plus, they’re only available in the .netcdf format. This is a marvelous format because it can contain all kinds of metadata and specifications of the dataset … but it’s not easy to read.

Now I use the computer language “R” to work with this data. But for most folks, this isn’t an option.

So today, I decided to provide, not the gridded data, but the monthly averages of the gridded data. I’ve split it into two Excel (.xlsx) documents. One is the monthly record of the full data for the variable, and the other is monthly record of the data residual, what remains after the seasonal variations are removed. The data covers March 2000 to February 2021. In each Excel file, I’ve given global, northern hemisphere, and southern hemisphere data. This gives results like the following:

So there you have it. Links to the data are below. Explore it, tell us what you found. If you have questions, askem, and most of all …

… enjoy.


The Full Data: CERES Data 2000 2021.xlsx

The Residual Data: CERES Data 2000 2021 Residual.xlsx

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Tom Halla
September 8, 2022 10:19 am

Looks like no trend.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 8, 2022 4:41 pm

The surf_lw_down_all is actually lower at the end of the dataset than at the beginning. It decreased at the end of the data but temperature did not.

Does the model for DLW suggest that adding CO2 to the atmosphere decreases its emissivity? The atmosphere is also supposedly radiating – as if it were a black body – about 10 degrees above its average temperature at the equator.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 8, 2022 7:14 pm

My eyeball suggests a very slight decline for the last half.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 9, 2022 7:20 pm

My Mk1 eyeballs say much the same. It appears to be consistent with other studies indicating reduced solar reflection is driving increases in radiative forcings in the 21st Century, not CO2.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 9, 2022 8:43 am

Looks like twenty years.
How many cycles is that?
Do we know all the cycles, and their lengths?
If not, I suggest that the diagram is probably illustrative; as Willis E. says –
So there you have it. Links to the data are below. Explore it, tell us what you found. “
That reads as if he means – from the data at the link – to me.
I might be wrong.


Reply to  auto
September 11, 2022 1:15 pm

Less than a full 22 year solar cycle electromagnetic going north to south to north,

September 8, 2022 10:38 am

One can see that less energy returns back into space. The question now is, to where the missing energy difference goes. There are two answers: 1. Half of the solar energy, which enters into the oceans,goes deeper than 20 m and nobody knows, after how many years it will come out again. This is the first unknown energy “sink”. The second is that the enhanced greening of the world (especially the algae growth in the oceans) gobbles more solar energy up for growing additional foliage. The ocean algae, after their death, sink to the ocean bottom and the used-up energy for algae growth sinks with them into the depth and is gone, accumulates at the bottom, maybe converts into the solid methane layer there….

The graph shows, what was discussed one decade earlier: “the MISSING HEAT”, which “hides” in the oceans. We assume with the graph that the “insolation” (incoming solar radiation)” at the TOA did not decrease.

Reply to  Joachim
September 8, 2022 10:46 am

PS: We can also see that there is no balanced energy budget, which means that the meme: “X amount of energy is received on Earth…and in order that Earth does not overheat, the same X- amount of energy has to go back into space”. This is modelers nonsense, because the oceans cover 71% of the globe and a hell of a lot of organic matter disappears into the ocean depths, and excess energy bound in organic matter goes with it, never to come out again.

Lance Wallace
Reply to  Joachim
September 8, 2022 11:04 am


Not only that, but the meme energy in = energy out is only good at equilibrium, and the oceans might take a few hundred years to overturn and reach equilibrium. So we could have energy out > energy in for many consecutive years without seeing an effect.

Steve Case
Reply to  Lance Wallace
September 8, 2022 1:26 pm

…the meme energy in = energy out is only good at equilibrium…

Bingo and no doubt the reason Dr. Trenberth changed his original 1997 Heat Budget to include [Net Absorbed 0.09 w/m²] in the 2009 version

M Courtney
Reply to  Steve Case
September 9, 2022 12:11 am

But I thought the science was settled many years before 2009?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Joachim
September 8, 2022 12:20 pm

You only have to think of chalk and limestone hundreds of metres deep all skeletal remains.

2010-2021 – Statista
In 2021, the estimated total global production of lime amounted to 430 million metric tons, up slightly from the previous year.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 10, 2022 6:57 am

The fact that coral reefs tend to cement together indicates that the oceans are constantly removing CO2 as calcium carbonate from the atmosphere/oceans. It a saturation condition in the tropics and the only thing keeping us alive is a constant input of CO2 from volcanic activity. And, if we can free up carbon as CO2 from fossil fuels, all the better for us and life on Earth.

The good news is that oil and gas are abiotic from the core of the planet and the carbon is there fro us to free up as CO2 while also having a very useful source of chemical energy.

It’s a win-win.

Reply to  Joachim
September 11, 2022 1:22 pm


You just pointed to ocean heating. Which is doomed to release CO2 (look up Henry, Dalton gas laws).

You figured out yet how much the temperature has to increase in an average kilogram of ocean for all ocean to release 100ppm?

0.0056 Kelvin. Not measurable with our finest instruments, merely calculable.

Seems you also fell in to the trap that X2 must be equal to X2. You tell me how we can produce a crust in that scenario?

Building a crust, it is pretty obvious X2>>X1.


Reply to  Joachim
September 8, 2022 11:30 am

I am always baffled by this concept that radiative energy “hides” in the ocean and comes back later.

Lets say you are energy and you penetrate 50m before being absorbed. You immediately make the molecule that absorbed you less dense, warmer and more energetic. And nearly as fast that excites molecule tries to rise, but it collided with 6 other molecules and transfers energy and momentum. This process creates turbulence and motion with in the water column. That motion during the day is part of thermohaline circulation. The energy migrates upwards as best as it can. Energy absorbed at depth either becomes mechanical energy or is processed back towards the surface.

Energy stored biochemically can be buried. That is the source of our fossil fuels, but the orders of magnitude are pretty far off to imply it is impacting global energy balance.

If we burned an equivalent amount of all the fossil fuels ever used in a instant how much would the air warm? That is millions of years worth of buried energy.

Reply to  Ben
September 8, 2022 11:57 am

In history they say we have release roughly 35 billion metric tons of CO2 from fossil fuels. Which it’s roughly 85 kg per million btu. So I get roughly 4×10^11 btu ever released.

I make that to be about 4×10^14 joules which is ~5 orders of magnitude smaller than an hour of solar energy hitting the globe.

Even if I am off by a factor of a million long term biochemical energy storage is not a factor for global energy budget. Neither is mystery heat returning from the cold depths.

Paul C
Reply to  Ben
September 8, 2022 12:05 pm

If the missing “heat” hides in the ocean, then it isn’t a problem for the ocean, and it isn’t a problem for the atmosphere. If climate change is a non-problem, we should not be spending vast amounts of treasure on anything related to it when there are real-world problems that can make better use of that fortune.

Steve Case
Reply to  Ben
September 8, 2022 1:32 pm

I am always baffled by this concept that radiative energy “hides” in the ocean and comes back later.

It’s called propaganda. Say something with the authority of your university and the letters after your name, and the mavens in the Mainstream Misleadia fall right in line and don’t question a darn thing.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 8, 2022 3:19 pm

The “skeptic” community talks as much about heat absorbed below 20 meters as the other side. Both have delusions.

A self regulating system with temperature based thresholds that react in real time based on local conditions is what we learned in meteorology. Willis does an excellent job explaining why what controls day to day weather acts naturally to temper changes both terrestrially and in solar output.

The reason we do not warm as expected “if all things were equal” from co2 is the same reason solar cycles do not show up in climate data.

Reply to  Ben
September 8, 2022 5:52 pm

Something is responsible for the 60 year, 100 year, 1000 year, and various other climate cycles. Maybe the medieval clerics had it right: fossils are lies of the devil?

Rod Evans
Reply to  Steve Case
September 9, 2022 12:27 am

Love the Mainstream Misleadia, description.

Steve Case
Reply to  Rod Evans
September 11, 2022 7:26 am

Not original with me. I’ll have to go back a week or two here on WUWT to the post where I got it from.

On edit and after a short search:

Redge Reply to tgasloli
 September 5, 2022 11:39 pm
Is it just me or is everything in the Misleadia “extreme right” but never “extreme left”?

Reply to  Ben
September 8, 2022 4:12 pm

Ben. Consider the ENSO as an example of a mechanism that stores energy over years during an accumulation phase and releases it years later via the el Niño.

Reply to  Dnalor50
September 8, 2022 7:01 pm

Correct, but it is not storing it by bypassing the surface it is stored by creating a deepening pool of warm water. Not hidden away in the 4c cold depths. It is released as soon as the trade winds strengthen and purge the warm pull poleward.

It isn’t created by deep water absorption it is created by a weather pattern resulting in extended calmer conditions with reduced cloud cover.

Warmth accumulates and then is released.

It isn’t hidden and can be tracked and measured.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Ben
September 10, 2022 7:07 am

My problem is that the organic matter on the ocean floor is supposed to be subducted under continental plates It is easy to understand the ocean floor, as rock, being subducted, but mud would be scraped up into huge piles and not be subducted.

Furthermore, if it was subducted, fossil fuels from heat and pressure should be under the continental edge mountain ranges, which they are not—they are everywhere, being abiotic. This means they are coming from the center of the planet and accumulating under the crust everywhere. Only coal is old organic material that has been further processed by the abiotic gas and oil into an almost put carbon form.

There is good reason we find gas and oil at such huge depths in the ground. 12,000 feet down was never near the surface and simply cannot be buried organic matter.

Arjan Duiker
September 8, 2022 10:46 am

Nice! And many thanks for sharing and converting the data into xls.
My question is: in many of your recent analyses you’ve chosen the period 2000 – 2021, but isn’t there data available from 1979 onwards? Perhaps data before 2000 has lower resolution, something like that?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 8, 2022 1:18 pm

According to my own data set, Tmax (global) started to drop in ca. 1996. But. Ja. It is not a straight line. However taking derivatives of the change in K/ year2 gives a good indication of what is happening.
By me, and others, Tmax will continue to drop until 2038.

Reply to  HenryP
September 8, 2022 3:19 pm

Ja nee boet 🙂

Lance Wallace
September 8, 2022 11:09 am


Very helpful to those of us without R creds. Thanks. Is “Residuals” the best term? It’s more like “seasonally corrected”.

When I graph the seasonally-corrected data for allt2 I get
y = 0.0016x +14.997 (R^2-41%)
so a pretty strong increasing trend.

September 8, 2022 11:15 am

Thank you, Willis.

Doug Proctor
September 8, 2022 11:44 am

Several days ago I referenced that attached article as mentioned in a previous Willis post. What stuck me was the authors said that the CERES satellite data showed a 0.5W/m2 decrease in the Earth’s albedo over the last 20 years, but the Earthshine project showed 1.5 W/m2. The authors immedistely dismissed the Earthsine 1.5 in favor of the 0.5. They then claimed the climate modeled 0.6 W/m2 of CO2 added to the 0.5 matched rise in the temperature record.

I wondered if confirmation bias had determined the choice of 0.5. Also if they were confusing cause and effect: the albedo was reduced because of temperature, not the temperature rise was caused by the albedo change.

Furthermore, the scientists who calceulated an Earthshine reduction effect of 1.5 W/m2 are not dummies. But these authors infer they are, because the Earthshine people see a 3X effect they don’t.

Could Willis weigh in on that? If Earthshine is even closer, CO2 is less important thanthe global warming narrative. per IPCC. If cause and effect could be inverted, there’s an existential problem with

Doug Proctor
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 9, 2022 8:50 am

My question is not the math. It’s the dismissal of the Earthshine 1.5 data in favor of the CERES data.

Or did I read their conclusion wrong?

Philip Mulholland
September 8, 2022 12:08 pm


Thank you for providing the CERES 20-21 data in Excel format.
This work by you is much appreciated.

September 8, 2022 1:52 pm

Just read an article about cosmic rays from space and gamma rays from the sun…seems scientists do not fully understand the situation. Earth’s climate has to be affected to some extent….clouds are affected. All the factors affecting climate are not known or fully understood

Reply to  Antigriff
September 8, 2022 4:54 pm

It is clear that the Earths climate is affected by extra terrestrial space, just as it is clear that the biosphere does also. The sun and asteroid impacts are just two examples, there are obviously more. The biosphere evolves which must change feedbacks. Also, each moment on the earth is unique because the universe is expanding and our galaxy is aging. So there is no possible way to know or understand all the factors that could affect climate.

Reply to  Antigriff
September 9, 2022 1:41 am

It helps if you think of the earth as a chrystal, growing in least-energy configuration, inside a solution of….
Now what you are talking about is that solution we float in. Unimaginative people think it is empty space. With perhaps a few odd rays.
The rest is so unknown, it has been claimed by the soybois as part of their Dark Narrative.

September 8, 2022 2:30 pm

The graph vertical axis is labelled energy in units w/m2. To truly be energy, shouldn’t w/m2 be in units ws/m2 or w/sm2. Otherwise, without time (s=seconds) w/m2 is power

One of the classic errors in science is to get the units wrong. To leave off one of the problem dimensions. When you do this you can pretty much prove anything.

If correct, that climate science confuses energy and power, little wonder their results have zero predictive power.

September 8, 2022 2:34 pm

“Generally insolation is expressed two ways. One unit is kilowatt-hours per square meter (kWh/m2) per day [1] which represents the average amount of energy hitting an area each day. Another form is watts per square meter (W/m2) which represents the average amount of power hitting an area over an entire year.”

September 8, 2022 2:53 pm

The vertical axis on the graph appears mislabelled as “energy”.

“Radiative flux, also known as radiative flux density or radiation flux (or sometimes power flux density[1]), is the amount of power radiated through a given area, in the form of photons or other elementary particles, typically measured in W/m2.[2] ”

September 8, 2022 2:57 pm

For those who are comfortable with Fortran: Yes, netCDF is a very powerful programming-interface/format for scientific data, and yes it is quite low-level so that it is very tedious to program — especially for robust production-quality codes.


As part of the Models-3 I/O API ( — used by EPA’s air quality models, among others), here is a Fortran MODULE that provides high level access to gridded netCDF files: MODULE MODNCFIO, documented at You can download from GitHub at; installation instructions are at


Hoyt Clagwell
September 8, 2022 2:59 pm

Surely some of the incoming energy from the sun transforms into the kinetic energy that drives the ocean’s currents as well as the atmospheric currents. That can’t be insignificant can it?

Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
September 8, 2022 6:08 pm

It still all ends up as heat.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 9, 2022 1:05 am

Does heat provide energy to move the oceans, or do oceans dissipate heat from their motion? If gross global currents increase, does the global temperature rise or fall or stay steady? Geoff S

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 11, 2022 1:31 pm

Admittedly I am on a slightly different page here: The climate is the RESULT of a huge heat engine (solar radiation, planets, Zharkova double dynamo for the latter)…

Creating wind, moving oceans and atmosphere which will COOL the planet…

You mind listing the full definition of column headers in your piece? TIA.


Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 10, 2022 6:08 am

A pound of air, or even a pound of you, has significant amount of kinetic energy at the equator, which has a velocity of about 1000MPH (1037 to be a bit more exact). Since KE=1/2 mv^2, this comes out to about 34000 lb-ft. Converting to BTUs, this is about 44 BTUs. At either pole, the velocity can be considered to be zero. As the mass moves to the poles, somewhere in between, this kinetic energy is converted to heat.
Since the bulk of solar energy into the earth enters in a band near the equator, a first order assumption could be that the solar energy enters there and is given up by the time that the mass arrives at the poles. The mean annual temperature at the equator is around 77 degrees F. Using the North Pole, since the bulk of people live in the Northern Hemisphere and the elevation there is nearest to seal level, the mean annual temperature there is about -8 degrees F. Thus, a pound of air there has to lose about 85 degrees F of temperature on its journey. Since the specific heat of dry air is about 0.24 BTU/lb-F, it gives up about 20 BTUs of thermal energy. 
We’ll ignore your mass, since you would have eaten food along the way, making your journey anything but adiabatic. We have also ignored humidity, as there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the condensation and evaporation along the way, too. Nevertheless, the kinetic energy and the thermal energy conversions along the way are certainly of the same order of magnitude.
It is this energy that creates our climate. If the air and water were just riding along with the earth, the climate everywhere would be constant. There would be no wind, and no ocean currents. In my view, there has been a lot of emphasis on the thermal energy, and correspondently not enough on the kinetic energy. It is the kinetic energy that creates the Coriolis rotations controlling rotating storms. These are certainly not trivial.

Robert W Turner
September 8, 2022 3:08 pm

Thumbs up

Bob Weber
September 8, 2022 4:02 pm

Here you go Willis, total cloud area with it’s cumulative departure from average curve (CDA).

Left to right, the CDA (thicker line) indicates more clouds post-solar max and El Niño events, fewer clouds during the two solar minima and La Niña events. Just what I expected.

comment image

Thanks for the spreadsheets.

Bob Weber
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 9, 2022 7:14 am

“it guarantees that the curve starts and ends at the same point.”

Willis you’re right, but a CDA plot has a story to tell if you ignore its first and last 10% or so, which I do, as the CDA is relative to the start and end values, so the average will change slightly in the future with new data, but not significantly with long datasets.

Do you distrust anomalies? A CDA is much like an anomaly, but cumulative, and instead of the underlying data being compared to a fixed climatology period as anomalies are, the CDA uses the entire data set for it’s climatological average.

“…it says nothing about the trends themselves”

That’s OK because we can always look at any trends separately.

A CDA is made by integrating, detrending, subtracting the mean, and normalizing data.

I’ve made CDAs to indirectly look at cloud changes over time in specific locations using ~250 stations of ESA TEMIS UV Index and Ozone data.

For example here is the TEMIS UVI/Ozone data with CDAs for San Francisco, where more ozone (clouds) lead to lower UV Index during El Niño events (inversely related):

comment image

Scatterplot of the San Francisco UVI CDA vs Ozone CDA shows inverse relationship:

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The 12 month average change of the CERES cloud fraction data is easier to compute than the CDA, plotted below, with a slightly declining trend:

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September 8, 2022 4:54 pm

thanks again for the Great Insight and fabulous discussion with the comments…us uneducated continue to gain insight into the farce of Man-Made Global Warming

Philip CM
September 8, 2022 6:30 pm

The truth always emerges in spite of the misleading science and the propaganda of associated agendas. It’s just a matter of time and honest study.

And the efforts of honest debunkers of the agitprop. 😁

September 8, 2022 11:47 pm

A little tangential – but science related

Interview with Scientist from Dundee University – lecturer in Climate Science. R4 program that digs into published statistics. In this case “30% of Pakistan is under water”

Scientist dude says ….and I quote

“As a scientist, I don’t really care if it’s 5% or 30% ….”

He went on to say that it’s terrible either way, and 30% is a headline grabbing number…..


He may as well have said ‘don’t bother me with facts, it’t the belief that’s important’

September 8, 2022 11:51 pm

Now I use the computer language “R” to work with this data…

Willis – I’m just curious, why do you use “R”, for your data-science programming to work with this large dataset, as opposed to Python?? I’ve recently taken up Python and found it fairly easy and extremely robust with all of the add-on modules and libraries available for all manner of uses.
No criticism or anything in any way, more of a genuine curiosity on this.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 9, 2022 12:36 am

Willis, you must have developed some snazzy R modules and applications which could be of use to others. Any prospect of depositing code somewhere?

Peta of Newark
September 9, 2022 1:06 am

Quote:”Climate is controlled by the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the amount of infrared energy emitted to space.

wrong wrong wrong, Cause and Effect bite the dust from the very outset.

El Sol controls the climate, via its action upon water, land & (indirectly) the plants and the “infrared energy emitted to space”
…Is. The. Climate.

Like saying the fumes from your tailpipe are what makes your car go.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 9, 2022 11:15 am

Like saying the fumes from your tailpipe are what makes your car go.
Something like 90% of the heat goes out the tailpipe, otherwise car radiators would need to be 10x larger.

Andrew Chantrill
September 9, 2022 1:32 am

Dear Willis,

Thank you again for making such a valuable resource accessible to those of use with Excel.

I might have got this wrong, but it seems cloud transmissivity leads cloud area in the Southern Hemisphere and lags it in the Northern Hemisphere. Is there an explanation for this?


September 9, 2022 1:53 am

Willis could you clarify what you are labelling “reflected energy” ? Is this just the reflected solar dataset? If that is about 100 W/m2 there is presumably about 70W/m2 of outgoing LWIR. ( 340/2 – 100 )

It looks like there is about 2-3W/m2 drop over that period. Meaning more energy input into the climate system. Does LWIR show a similar opposite change or is this a measurement of Trenberth’s “missing heat”?

IIRC, you have previously said there is something like a 5W/m2 discrepancy in the absolute energy budget on CERES which is recognised as not being physically credible and is put down to calibration errors. Thus only relative changes over time are consider real.

Can we believe the long term stability of all the instruments is better than the changes we see here ?

Reply to  Greg
September 9, 2022 2:02 am

The winter minima look more stable than the summer maxima, though minima are trending downwards too. Warmer winters are good news since we have decided to sanction the hell out of our own economies.

September 9, 2022 3:35 am

How accurate are CERES data?

What instruments are used for measurements
and have they change over time?

What adjustments are made to the raw data?

Are any raw data deleted or infilled?

Can the people compiling the data be trusted?

These are the important questions.

None of them answered here

September 9, 2022 3:56 am

We’re all gonna die.

September 9, 2022 5:03 am

Terrific.Thanks for the time and effort to make the CERES data more accessible. I think one thing we can all agree on is that the climate community needs to spend more effort measuring and less time modeling.

September 9, 2022 8:31 am

Wonderfull data,.. I wonder if latitudinal bands would be possible (remember Iris Effect?)

September 9, 2022 11:23 am

something like a 5W/m2 discrepancy in the absolute energy budget on CERES
5w/m2 is power not energy.

Bertrand Russell said that if you believed one thing to be true that was in fact false, you could prove anything true.

September 9, 2022 11:32 am

CERES says “Climate is controlled by the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the amount of infrared energy emitted to space.”

Given that climate is chaotic (being the ever changing average of chaotic weather) I think “control” is incorrect. Even if we knew these amounts exactly, at all times for every point in the system, climate would still be intrinsically unpredictable. The proper term is “driven”. Climate is driven by these amounts but where it goes is just a guess at best.

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