China’s carbon-monitoring satellite reports global carbon net of six gigatons

Topic: China’s carbon-monitoring satellite reports global carbon net of six gigatons


According to data from the Chinese Global Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Scientific Experimental Satellite (TANSAT), about six gigatonnes – about 12 times the mass of all living humans – of carbon are emitted on land each year.

Using data on how carbon mixes with dry air collected from May 2017 to April 2018, researchers developed the first global carbon flux dataset and map. They published their results in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

The map was developed by applying TANSAT’s satellite observations to model how greenhouse gases are exchanged between Earth’s atmosphere, land, water and living organisms. During this process, more than a hundred gigatonnes of carbon are exchanged, but net carbon has been added to the atmosphere as a result of increased carbon emissions – now about six gigatonnes a year – which is a serious issue that contributes to climate change. That’s the change, according to first author and researcher Dongxu Yang of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP CAS).

“In this paper, we introduce the first implementation of TANSAT carbon dioxide data on carbon flux estimates,” Yang said. “We also demonstrate that China’s first carbon-monitoring satellite can probe the distribution of carbon fluxes around the world.”

While satellite measurements are not as accurate as ground-based measurements, said co-author Jing Wang, a researcher at IAP CAS, satellite measurements provide continuous global observation coverage that does not provide additional information available from limited or diverse surface monitoring stations. . For example, a monitoring station in a city may report very different observations than a station in a remote village, especially if they are in very different climates.

“The sparseness and spatial disparity of existing ground-based networks consistently limit our ability to estimate global and regional-scale carbon sources and sinks,” said co-author Liang Feng, a researcher at the National Center for Earth Observations at the university. Edinburgh. “To improve observation coverage, tailor-made satellites, for example TANSAT, have been developed to provide accurate atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements.”

Data from these satellites, including TANSAT, Japan’s GOSAT and the United States’ OCO-2, and future missions, will be used to independently verify national emissions inventories around the world. According to Yang, the process will be overseen by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and will begin in 2023 in support of the Paris Agreement. TANSAT’s measurements are generally matched with data from other satellites.

“This verification method will help to better understand carbon emissions in real time and ensure transparency in inventory,” said co-author Yi Liu, researcher at IAP CAS.

This process will be fueled by the next generation of satellites, known as TANSAT-2, which is currently in the design stage. The goal, Yang said, would be to obtain measurements that would help clarify the carbon budget from a global scale to individual cities.

Source: Eureka Alert

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