Satellite Observations of CO2 in support of the Paris Agreement for Emission Reduction

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: National Centre for Earth Observation


Mitigating or slowing down global warming is one of the primary challenges humankind faces in the 21st century. In the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris, participants agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent an increase of more than 1.5C in global surface temperature. European countries have positioned themselves at the forefront of climate change mitigation through a number of ambitious policies and programs. However, the development of climate change mitigation policies is hampered by critical knowledge gaps in our understanding the global carbon cycle, its sources and sinks including anthropogenic emissions and the interplay of the carbon cycle processes with climate change.

More and better observations are needed if we want to advance our quantitative understanding of the carbon exchange between the surface and the atmosphere. Recent advances in space-based remote sensing methods provide opportunities to augment the coarse spatial and temporal resolution and coverage of ground-based networks.

This project aims to take advantage of a new, recently launched satellite (GOSAT-2) to tackle one of the eminent limitations of satellite remote sensing to reliably observe CO2 in regions of high pollution (megacities) or frequent cloud coverage (tropics). Besides a powerful instrument for CO2, GOSAT-2 also features a state-of-the-art aerosol imager so that a detailed characterisation of aerosols (and clouds) is possible which can then inform the CO2 retrieval. Using a combined aerosol/CO2 approach, atmospheric CO2 from GOSAT-2 will be mapped and used to test current model calculations to infer carbon surface flux information focusing on major emission regions.


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