Hello BEST members,
Last week on July 2nd, NASA launched a spacecraft from Vanderberg
AirForce Base in California devoted to reading carbon dioxide
concentrations in the atmosphere. The spacecraft is called Orbiting
Carbon Observatory-2 satellite (OCO-2). The original OCO was launched in
2009 and crashed into the Pacific Ocean shortly after.
OCO-2 is estimated to makes its way into polar orbit with other
Earth-surveying satellites 438 miles above Earth's surface about six
weeks from July 2nd. Once in orbit OCO-2 will be using a grading
spectrometer to measure carbon dioxide with an accuracy of 1 part per
million. OCO-2 will be able to move over all of Earth in about 16 days
and has the capability to measure carbon dioxide concentrations 24 times
within 1 second. This will lead to a large amount of information on CO2
sources and sinks. In other words, information on where CO2 is being
produced and where it is being taken away from the air.
The launching of this satellite is extremely important to carbon policy
issues. The data obtained from the satellite will allow for more
accurate information about where the most carbon is coming from and how
much of it exactly contributes to global warming. Also it will make
sound information available to scientists and decision makers which will
hopefully lead to better decision making in regards to carbon policies
and climate change.
"NASA Launches Satellite to Monitor Carbon Dioxide"
2014 BioEnergy & Sustainability School
Soil and Water Science Department
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