Spaceborne detection of localized carbon dioxide sources
Spaceborne measurements by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) at the kilometer scale reveal distinct structures of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by known anthropogenic and natural point sources. OCO-2 transects across the Los Angeles megacity (USA) show that anthropogenic CO2 enhancements peak over the urban core and decrease through suburban areas to rural background values more than ~100 kilometers away, varying seasonally from ~4.4 to 6.1 parts per million. A transect passing directly downwind of the persistent isolated natural CO2 plume from Yasur volcano (Vanuatu) shows a narrow filament of enhanced CO2 values (~3.4 parts per million), consistent with a CO2 point source emitting 41.6 kilotons per day. These examples highlight the potential of the OCO-2 sensor, with its unprecedented resolution and sensitivity, to detect localized natural and anthropogenic CO2 sources.
Publisher URL: http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/358/6360/eaam5782
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