Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Improved global methane and carbon monoxide emissions measured from space

EC funding has enabled a European team to be assembled with the task to better exploit available space data of greenhouse gases with the aim to improve emission estimates for applications in Kyoto Protocol monitoring. This funding has allowed the formation of an excellent team with complementary expertise in satellite data retrieval, validation and modelling, in collaboration with Industry and Environmental Agencies. This effort has resulted in a number of high profile publications and a potential application in the future GMES Service for Atmosphere.

The main result of the EVERGREEN project is the discovery of hitherto unknown methane sources in the tropics and the subsequent improvement of the global methane emission estimates. Advances have been made in satellite data retrieval from the novel satellite instrument SCIAMACHY, presently in operation on the ESA ENVISAT satellite. Advances have also been made in inverse modelling applied to the retrieved data for the top-down derivation of greenhouse gas emissions. The top-down method based on satellite data provides in principle the global coverage of measurements needed, which is lacking in the currently employed bottom-up emission verification method.

The EVERGREEN project has shown that the current generation of satellite sensors will only marginally increase our knowledge on sources and sinks of CO2. However, the chemically related CO, an air pollutant and precursor to CO2 emissions, has provided source information from the EOS Terra satellite instrument MOPITT. In the near future CO emission data are also expected to be retrieved from the SCIAMACHY satellite sensor. Combined retrieval of CO and CO2 may reveal anthropogenic CO2 sources in future development.

Data from the ENVISAT instruments MIPAS and SCIAMACHY have been used for the improvement of radiation budget and radiative forcing modelling calculations. Contributions by methane in radiative forcing are complex in that methane, in addition to its direct greenhouse effect, is chemically interacting with other greenhouse gases (water vapour) and their sinks (hydroxyl). Measured methane concentration distributions and their variations are in agreement with IPCC values. However, with current vertical profile accuracy achieved by MIPAS and SCIAMACHY, these data could not narrow down the existing range of uncertainty.

In future, improvements necessary in top down greenhouse gas emission estimates on the politically relevant scale of the Kyoto Protocol, requires a next generation satellite sensors, as well as assimilation of these data together with ground and aircraft data in models which require further development by themselves.

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FOM Institute for Plasmaphysics Rijnhuizen
PO Box 1207
3430 BE Nieuwegein
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