Innovative space-based climate assessment

The European Union has established stringent requirements for the monitoring from space of man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs). An EU-funded project is developing a miniaturised spectrometer to be mounted on small satellites. This will enable scientists to meet the specifications for GHG monitoring and ultimately help us to better understand climate change.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 28 January 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentAtmosphere  |  Climate & global change  |  Earth Observation
Industrial researchIndustrial processes & robotics
Information societyInformation technology  |  Telecommunications
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Security
SpaceSpace exploration  |  Space hardware  |  Teledetection
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  France  |  Germany  |  Netherlands
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Innovative space-based climate assessment

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© Tom Bayer #184336648 2019, source:stock.adobe.com

Human-induced climate change is extremely concerning for people and governments worldwide. Technical challenges faced by current space-based GHG monitoring operations include measurement inconsistencies linked to the presence of aerosols in the atmosphere. Another demand involves the need to obtain frequently repeated GHG measurements at a reasonable cost.

The EU-funded SCARBO project is addressing these and other challenges linked to the monitoring of anthropogenic GHGs. For instance, the project team is undertaking the detailed design, analysis and modelling of a novel, miniaturised, GHG-monitoring, spectro-imaging instrument, known as 'NanoCarb'. The SCARBO concept involves mounting the NanoCarb instrument on a constellation of small satellites, together with an ultra-compact aerosol sensor and an additional high-end reference instrument.

Complex mission architecture, starting with the preliminary design of the NanoCarb instrument and encompassing details of the small satellite constellation, is being developed on the basis of specific user requirements. The concept is being experimentally validated through a campaign of airborne trials of instrument prototypes.

SCARBO partners believe their concept is very capable of delivering precise and highly accurate measurements while enabling more frequent revisits over sites of interest – all to meet the strict EU requirements for monitoring man-made GHGs.

Importantly, SCARBO is addressing the monitoring of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), two critical gases known to play a role in climate change.

Significantly, the use of new miniaturised sensors together with small satellite platforms enables a significant cost reduction compared to current space-based systems, on both the manufacturing and launch side.

Altogether, the SCARBO project represents a very strong response to the key issue of climate change facing citizens on a global scale. The interest created by the project has also been underlined recently in an interview with the consortium by Nature journal.

Project details

  • Project acronym: SCARBO
  • Participants: France (Coordinator), Netherlands, Germany, Belgium
  • Project N°: 769032
  • Total costs: € 2 922 623
  • EU contribution: € 2 922 623
  • Duration: December 2017 to November 2020

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