Do We Need to Monitor Global Greenhouse Gases Emissions from Space?


Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) (NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Also discussed here: CO2 Monitoring Could Be “Space-Based” in Future (Bobby Magill, Climate Central, May 29, 2014)
And here: Multiscale observations of CO2, 13CO2, and pollutants at Four Corners for emission verification and attribution (6 page pdf, Rodica Lindenmaier, Manvendra K. Dubey, Bradley G. Henderson, Zachary T. Butterfield, Jay R. Herman, Thom Rahn and Sang-Hyun Lee,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), May 19, 2014)
And here: The President’s Climate Action Plan (White House, USA, Jun. 2013)
And here: Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units (645 page pdf, Environmental Protection Agency, USA, Jun. 2, 2014)
Today we review progress toward monitoring CO2 for the entire earth from a space-based platform, an approach that began in 2001 using the SCIAMACHY imaging spectrometer on the ENVISAT European satellite. In developed countries such as the USA, China or Canada, the main sources of CO2are either large coal or natural gas-burning plants or the emissions from heating/cooling building and vehicle emissions in urban areas which collectively contribute 80% of each countries emissions. Monitoring these emissions from the point sources is a complicated and time consuming task.

Recent research indicated that space based estimates of the CO2 found in columns extended to the earth’s surface compare well with ground based measurements. Plans to launch an improved sensor, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) on July 1, 2014, combined with the commitment by the United States to reduce CO2 emissions from coal plants and other point sources and the need to monitor emissions globally validates the requirement for better space based estimates which are more efficiently collected and probably more accurate than the accumulated ground-based estimates.

OCO_column

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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