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Carbon-Measuring NASA Satellite to Take Orbit This Week
A NASA satellite will take orbit Tuesday to help the agency better understand carbon's role in our changing climate.
"Now that humans are acknowledging the environmental effects of our dependence on fossil fuels and other carbon dioxide-emitting activities, our goal is to analyze the sources and sinks of this carbon dioxide and to find better ways to manage it," Gregg Marland, a professor in the Geology Department at Appalachian State University, said in a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
More than half of all fossil fuels ever used by humans were consumed in the last 20 years. While Marland says that amount totals "only a few percent of the total yearly atmospheric uptake or loss of carbon dioxide from plant life and geochemical processes on land and in the ocean," it has been enough to tip the scale.
Now, NASA will monitor that consumption to complement various efforts to quantify fossil fuel emissions through the use of statistics on fuel, activity of cars and more to pinpoint emissions on scales as small as an individual building or street.
Those efforts are being funded by NASA and led by Kevin Gurney, an associate professor at Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences.
"This research and OCO-2 together will act like partners in closing the carbon budget, with my data products estimating movements from the bottom up and OCO-2 estimating sources from the top down," Gurney said. "By tackling the problem from both perspectives, we'll stand to achieve an independent, mutually compatible view of the carbon cycle. And the insight gained by combining these top-down and bottom-up approaches might take on special significance in the near future as our policymakers consider options for regulating carbon dioxide across the entire globe."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.
The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.
But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.