Instruments measure greenhouse gases from space

Ibuki satellite uses interferometer to measure atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide. See photos; link to video.
By Control Engineering Staff January 30, 2009
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has great photos of the Ibuki launch, including these, and a link to a video.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has great photos of the Ibuki launch, including these, and a link to a video. Please click the link to see more.

Tokyo, Japan – A new satellite launched in January will orbit the earth with the task of measuring atmospheric greenhouse gases around the world. The GOSAT (greenhouse gas observing satellite) was launched January 23, by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Institute for Environmental Studies, and Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. As part of the Kyoto Protocol initiative, the satellite will observe and measure greenhouse gases from space, particularly methane and carbon dioxide.

The satellite has been named Ibuki , which means breathe in Japanese, and was built by NEC Toshiba Space Systems. Its main instrumentation element is an interferometer built by ABB Analytical that is capable of transmitting accurate daily atmospheric measurements of global carbon dioxide and methane gas distribution from a distance of 666 km above the Earth. The measurement processes use the spectral signature of molecules emitted by CO 2 and other gases, which makes them easy to identify and quantify thanks to infrared technology capable of reading the signature and establishing molecular density. By taking readings at various points of orbit, latitude, longitude and altitude, it is possible to generate profiles defining the concentration level of each gas in the atmosphere at a given location.

The GOSAT program is important because the number of Earth stations for observing carbon dioxide has been limited to date, most notably due to uneven greenhouse gas distribution. Ibuki will be the first observation station capable of monitoring greenhouse gas daily at 56,000 observation points. As such, scientists will be able to combine global observation data sent from space with data already collected on Earth.

The development of the interferometer onboard the Ibuki followed another ABB-built payload supplied to the Canadian Space Agency’s ACE/SciSat-1 satellite. In orbit for more than five years, the ACE/SciSat-1 has been very successful and exceeded

Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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