The welcome comments by Liepert et al. [this issue] on my Forum article stress the importance of shortwave radiation forcing at the Earth's surface for understanding current climate change and the forcing's consequences for the life-sustaining solar-powered water and carbon cycles. I agree with their call for continued and expanded support for longterm programs to monitor and analyze these changes. Such programs are especially relevant in the Earth's polar regions and ocean surfaces where the solar radiation measurement network is smaller now than when it was established by the International Geophysical Year 50 years ago.
Monitoring of the downwelling and upwelling longwave and shortwave components of the surface radiation balance in these regions can, and should, be supplemented with measurements of the latent and sensible heat fluxes to establish the consequences of global dimming and brightening. The need for such measurements to explain the rapid warming occurring on the coasts of Antarctica at twice the global rate was emphasized 10 years ago [Stanhill and Cohen, 1997].