Early Results from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Mission
Time: Thursday, Dec. 18, 9 a.m. PST
In 2014, NASA launched four new missions to study our home planet, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 in July – NASA's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide. This press conference will present early results from the OCO-2 mission. Fossil fuel combustion, deforestation and other human activities are adding almost 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, yet less than half of it stays airborne. The rest is apparently being absorbed by natural processes at the surface, whose identity and location are poorly understood. Ground-based carbon dioxide measurements accurately record the global atmospheric carbon dioxide budget and its trends but do not have the resolution or coverage needed to identify the "sources" emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or the natural "sinks" absorbing this gas. One way to improve the resolution and coverage of these measurements is to collect precise observations of carbon dioxide from an orbiting satellite. OCO-2 is NASA's first satellite designed to measure atmosphere carbon dioxide with the accuracy, resolution and coverage needed to identify its sources and sinks. OCO-2 is currently recording more than 100,000 carbon dioxide measurements over Earth's sunlit hemisphere each day. In addition, a new data product from OCO-2 that senses light emitted from the photosynthesis of plants has been developed. Over the next two years, these measurements are expected to revolutionize our understanding of the processes controlling the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide.
Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Chris O’Dell, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Paul Wennberg, R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Christian Frankenberg, Research Scientist, NASA JPL
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