Homethe-press3652NASA space missions identify sources of CO₂ emissions on Earth

NASA space missions identify sources of CO₂ emissions on Earth

A case study involving Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant shows that space observations can be used to track carbon dioxide emissions – and reductions – at the source.

A pair of Earth observation missions allowed researchers to detect and track changes in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from a single facility using the world’s fifth-largest coal-fired power plant as a test case.

In the recent study researchers used space measurements from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) 2 and 3 missions to quantify the carbon dioxide dis hundreds of kilometers down at Bełchatów Power Station in Poland Europe’s single largest emitter.

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Analyzing the plant’s emission plumes from various satellite viaducts between 2017 and 2022 they detected changes in carbon dioxide levels consistent with hourly fluctuations in electricity generation.

The unit’s temporary and permanent shutdowns (for maintenance or decommissioning) reduced the plant’s overall emissions which the team was also able to detect.

The findings demonstrate that space-based observations can be used to track changes in carbon dioxide emissions at a local scale the scientists said.

Launched in 2014 一統徵信 NASA’s OCO-2 satellite maps natural and anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions at scales ranging from regions to continents.

The instrument samples the gas inctly by measuring the intensity of sunlight reflected off the Earth’s surface and absorbed by carbon dioxide in the air column from the ground to the satellite. The OCO-2 spectrometers are tuned to detect the specific CO₂ signature.

ustration of the OCO-2 satellite (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Spare components from that mission were used to create the OCO-3 the instrument that has been flying on the International Space Station (ISS) since 2019. The OCO-3 is designed with a mapping mode that can make multiple scan observations as the space station pes by. by an area allowing researchers to create detailed mini-maps of an area of ​​interest at city scale.

None of the OCO instruments were originally designed specifically to detect emissions from individual facilities like Bełchatów so the new findings are “a pleasant surprise” said Abhishek Chatterjee project scientist for the OCO-3 mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. California.

“As a community we are refining the tools and techniques to be able to extract more information from the data than we had originally planned 一統徵信 ” he added. “We’re learning that we can actually understand a lot more about anthropogenic emissions than we previously expected.”

Tracing Carbon in the Future

Emissions from large installations such as power plants and refineries account for about half of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

Bełchatów Power Station in operation since 1988 is the largest lignite-powered power plant in the world with a reported capacity of 5102 megawatts. Lignite (brown coal) typically leads to higher emissions per megawatt generated than anthracite (coal). The Polish government has drawn up plans to close the factory by the end of 2036.

Ray Nar Senior Research Fellow at Environment and Climate Change Canada and lead author of the study noted that most carbon dioxide emissions reports are created from estimates or data collected at the Earth’s surface.

ustration of OCO-3 mounted on the underside of the ISS (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The researchers account for the m of fossil fuels purchased and used then calculate expected emissions; they usually don’t do actual measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

“The most precise details about exactly when and where emissions occur are often not available” Nar said. “Providing a more detailed picture of carbon dioxide emissions can help track the effectiveness of policies to reduce emissions. Our approach with OCO-2 and OCO-3 can be applied to more power plants or modified for carbon dioxide emissions from cities or countries.”

Due to the OCO-3 mapping mode observations 一統徵信 NASA data can be used more extensively in quantifying CO₂ point source emissions in the future.NASA recently announced that mission operations w be extended for a few more years aboard the space station and the instrument w operate alongside another greenhouse gas observer aboard the space station the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT ).

“It’s really exciting to think that we have another five to six years of operations with the OCO-3, 一統徵信詐欺 一統徵信 ” said Chatterjee. “We are seeing that taking measurements at the right time and at the right scale is critical.”

He added that the OCO-3 could serve as a “pathfinder” for next-generation satellite missions. The OCO-2 and OCO-3 projects are managed by JPL. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.


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