Environment Counts | China joins Japan, U.S. and Canada in launching greenhouse gas observing satellites :
On December 21, 2016 China launched a 620 kg micro-satellite on a Long March-2D rocket to monitor its greenhouse gas emissions. The TanSat satellite is in a sun synchronous orbit 700 km above the earth and will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. TanSat will take readings of global carbon dioxide every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 parts per million.
On January 23, 2009, Japan launched the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT). It measures the densities of carbon dioxide and methane from 56,000 locations on the Earth’s atmosphere. GOSAT was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Japanese Ministry of the Environment and National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) use the data to track greenhouse gases.
On July 2, 2014 NASA launched the OCO-2 satellite on a Delta II rocket to study carbon dioxide concentrations and distributions in the atmosphere. OCO-2 makes measurements in three different spectral bands over four to eight different footprints of approximately 1.29 km Ã— 2.25 km each. About 24 soundings are collected per second while in sunlight. Of these about 10% are sufficiently cloud free for further analysis. One spectral band is used for column measurements of oxygen (A-band), and two are used for column measurements of carbon dioxide.
On June 21, 2016 Canada’s GHGSat Inc. launched its Claire nanosatellite. Claire can measure emissions from any industrial site in the world. Greenhouse gases can be monitored with a precision in parts per million / billion, depending on the species, with spatial resolution in tens of meters. On December 9, 2016, Claire measured emissions from a cement plant in South Africa, its 500th measurement.