A NASA satellite shows how we can track local carbon dioxide emissions from space

A NASA satellite shows how we can track local carbon dioxide emissions from space

In 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since the Pliocene (about 3 million years ago).

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR6) Sixth Assessment Report, “excess carbon dioxide” in our atmosphere will increase the average global temperature between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.

This will greatly affect ecosystems around the world, including species extinctions, droughts, wildfires, extreme weather, and crop failures.

Apart from reducing emissions, these changes require mitigation, adaptation and climate control strategies. That’s the purpose of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) missions 2 and 3, twin satellites that monitor carbon dioxide from space.2 in the Earth’s atmosphere to better understand the characteristics of climate change.

Using the world’s fifth-largest coal-fired power plant as a test case, a team of researchers used data from OCO 2 and 3 to detect and track changes in CO.2 Measure the resulting emissions below.

The research was led by Ray Nassar, senior researcher at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and assistant professor at the University of Toronto (UofT). He was joined by researchers from ECCC, UofT, Colorado State University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The paper describing their findings was published on October 28, 2022 in frontiers in remote sensing.

Their findings show that space observations can be used to track carbon dioxide2 Emission changes on a local scale.

The OCO-2 satellite, launched in 2014, is mapping natural and anthropogenic carbon dioxide2 Emissions at the regional and continental scales. This is done indirectly by measuring the intensity of sunlight reflected from the Earth’s surface and directly by measuring the amount of carbon dioxide2 It is sucked into the air column between the surface and the satellite.

The OCO-2 satellite also has spectrometers calibrated to detect the specific carbon dioxide signature.2 Gas. Its facility (OCO-3) was built using OCO-2 parts and launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2019.

This tool includes a mapping mode that can make comprehensive observations over entire regions, allowing researchers to use OCO-3 to create detailed micro-maps on the scale of major cities – where excess carbon emissions are concentrated.

Using data obtained during multiple bridges between 2017 and 2022, the research team analyzed the emissions of Europe’s single largest emitter – the Belchatów Power Station in Poland.

From this, they detected changes in CO2 which were in keeping with the clock fluctuations in the station’s electricity production.

Belchatów Power Station has been in operation since 1988 and will remain open until the end of 2036 (according to the Polish government). It is currently the largest coal-fired power plant in the world (reported capacity of 5,102 MW).

It uses brown coal (lignite), which generates higher emissions per megawatt than hard coal (anthracite). Large facilities, such as power plants and oil refineries, account for about half of global carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

None of the satellites were originally designed to detect emissions from specific individual facilities like Belchatów.

In a NASA press release, OCO-3 mission project scientist Abhishek Chatterjee explained how this made their findings a “pleasant surprise” and how he and his colleagues look forward to future research opportunities:

“As a society, we’re improving tools and technologies to be able to extract more information from the data than we originally planned. We’re learning that we can actually understand a lot more about human emissions than we previously thought. It’s really exciting to think that we’ll get five To another six years of operations with OCO-3. We feel that making measurements at the right time and at the right size is critical.”

According to Nasser, most of the CO2 Emissions reports are generated from estimates or data collected at ground level. This consists of calculating the mass of fossil fuels used, calculating projected emissions, and generally does not include atmospheric measurements.

“Exact details about exactly when and where emissions occur are not often available,” Nasir said. Providing a more detailed picture of CO2 emissions can help track the effectiveness of policies to reduce emissions. Our approach with OCO-2 and OCO-3 could be applied to more plants. Energy generation or modification of carbon dioxide emissions from cities or countries.”

In the future, climate scientists will take advantage of OCO-3’s observing mapping mode, which can serve as a “navigator” for next-generation satellite missions. NASA recently announced that mission operations with OCO-3 aboard the International Space Station will be extended by several more years.

The instrument will work in conjunction with another greenhouse gas monitoring mission, the investigation of the source of Earth’s Surface Mineral Dust (EMIT).

This and other efforts to monitor climate change and carbon dioxide2 Real-time emissions are invaluable to mitigation and adaptation efforts.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.

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