Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential.
Our ability to predict future climate relies upon being able to monitor where our carbon emissions go. So we need to know how much stays in the atmosphere, or becomes stored in the oceans or on land. The oceans in particular have helped to slow climate change as they absorb and then store the carbon for thousands of years.
The IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, published last month, identified this critical role that the ocean play in regulating our climate along with the need to increase our monitoring and understanding of ocean health.
But the vast nature of the oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, illustrates why satellites are an important component of any monitoring.
The new study, led by the University of Exeter, says that increased exploitation of existing satellites will enable us to fill “critical knowledge gaps” for monitoring our climate.
The work reports that satellites originally launched to study the wind, also have the capability to observe how rain, wind, waves, foam and temperature all combine to control the movement of heat and carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere.
Additionally, satellites launched to monitor gas emissions over the land are also able to measure carbon dioxide emissions as they disperse over the ocean.
Future satellite missions offer even greater potential for new knowledge, including the ability to study the internal circulation of the oceans. New constellations of commercial satellites, designed to monitor the weather and life on land, are also capable of helping to monitor ocean health.
“Monitoring carbon uptake by the oceans is now critical to understand our climate and for ensuring the future health of the animals that live there,” said lead author Dr Jamie Shutler, of the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
“By monitoring the oceans we can gather the necessary information to help protect ecosystems at risk and motivate societal shifts towards cutting carbon emissions.”
The research team included multiple European research institutes and universities, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency.
The researchers call for a “robust network” that can routinely observe the oceans.
This network would need to combine data from many different satellites with information from automated instruments on ships, autonomous vehicles and floats that can routinely measure surface water carbon dioxide.
And recent computing advancements, such as Google Earth Engine, which provides free access and computing for scientific analysis of satellite datasets, could also be used.
The study suggests that an international charter that makes satellite data freely available during major disasters should be expanded to include the “long-term man-made climate disaster”, enabling commercial satellite operators to easily contribute.
Learn more: Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
via Google News
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
- The oldest and thickest sea ice is melting TWICE as fast as any other in the Arctic Oceanon November 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Without extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases ... There is a new Arctic now because the Arctic ocean is now navigable' at times in the summer, said Mark Serreze, director of the National ...
- Can microplastics pose a threat to ocean carbon sequestration?on November 12, 2019 at 3:03 pm
Global climate change has attracted worldwide attention. The ocean is the largest active carbon pool on the planet and plays an important role in global climate change. However, marine plastic ...
- Climate Explained: Why Mars is Cold Despite an Atmosphere of Mostly Carbon Dioxideon November 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Its atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide. The recipe for the temperature of a planet's surface has four major ingredients: atmospheric composition, atmospheric density, water content (from oceans, rivers ...
- New thoughts on how carbonates record global carbon cycleon November 11, 2019 at 5:15 am
Many scientists use them to reconstruct histories of changes in climate and the past global carbon cycle—that is, the process through which carbon travels between the oceans, the atmosphere, the ...
- Turbulence mediates marine aggregate formation and destruction in the upper oceanon November 7, 2019 at 4:21 am
Since large aggregates have increased sinking velocity and carbon content relative to small aggregates 7, the mechanisms controlling aggregate size distribution in the upper ocean have important ...
- Isotopic composition of oceanic dissolved black carbon reveals non-riverine sourceon November 7, 2019 at 2:26 am
A portion of the charcoal and soot produced during combustion processes on land (e.g., wildfire, burning of fossil fuels) enters aquatic systems as dissolved black carbon (DBC). In terms of mass flux, ...
- Study: Sea level rise likely to be determined by speed of carbon emission reductionson November 6, 2019 at 9:50 am
Nov. 6 (UPI) --Climate change has already caused sea levels to rise, and new research suggests warming air and ocean temps are going to continue to melt glaciers and promote higher seas. But how ...
- Coca-Cola chooses plastic bottle collection over aluminum cans to cut carbon footprinton November 6, 2019 at 9:25 am
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
- 'Artificial Leaf' May Be The Answer To Rising Carbon Emissionson November 6, 2019 at 1:45 am
Carbon dioxide traps radiation at ground level which prevents night-time cooling of the earth. A result of this can be seen in the warming of our ocean waters. What makes the artificial leaf ...
- Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbonon November 4, 2019 at 2:34 am
Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential. Our ability to predict future climate relies upon being ...
via Bing News