Environment

TanSat delivers first global map of atmospheric CO2

TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide
TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide
View 2 Images
TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide
1/2
TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide
A map based on data from July, 2017
2/2
A map based on data from July, 2017

Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have put together the first global carbon dioxide maps based on data from the Chinese satellite TanSat. The satellite also measures what lead researcher Yang Dongxu calls "carbon dioxide flux," changes in its behavior on Earth and in the Earth's atmosphere.

Launched in December 2016, TanSat monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide using hyperspectral imaging, gathering data from across the electromagnetic spectrum to identify different elements and materials. Tansat follows a sun-synchronous orbit to make sure it's always in sunlight. The maps are based on data recorded in April and July, 2017.

TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide
TanSat data has given birth to the first global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide

A map based on data from July, 2017
A map based on data from July, 2017

Though there are visible gaps in the data, which correspond to the gaps between the satellite's path as it completes orbits, the scientists think these could be plugged in the future by having climate satellites working in concert.

"Based on the maps, a seasonal decrease in carbon dioxide concentration from spring to summer in the Northern Hemisphere is obvious, and results from a change in the rate of photosynthesis," Yang writes. "Emission hotspots due to anthropogenic activity, such as industrial activity and fossil fuel combustion, are clearly evident in eastern China, the eastern United States, and Europe."

Historically, "the poor availability of global carbon dioxide measurements makes it difficult to estimate carbon dioxide emissions accurately," Yang explains. The researchers think TanSat's maps and measurements will benefit future research into climate change.

The maps were put together at the Chinese Academy of Science's Institute of Atmospheric Phsyics. The maps have been published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

3 comments
christopher
Seems to be missing 2/3 of the planet - where's the ocean data? When scientists "leave stuff out", it's almost always because something in the missing stuff is uncomfortable...
Riaanh
Interesting the difference between the April an July data. Linked to April being colder than July in the nothern hemisphere?
Kpar
Hey, great! Now we can see if there is any connection between higher CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures at given locations. Just sayin'