Climate change is real. NASA scientists have attributed global warming to the human expansion of the greenhouse effect.
For the uninitiated, the greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. When the sun reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of that energy is reflected back to space, while the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases. However, humans have exasperated this natural process because of our activities including the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil as well as natural gas and the process of agriculture land clearing. This is increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases, which in turn is contributing to the warming of the Earth.
Recently, a new group of satellites set to orbit our planet has been created to track the largest producers of greenhouse gases.
Tracking the Greenhouse Culprit
Now greenhouse gases include gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Involving well over a dozen governments and corporations, these satellites will be able to measure greenhouse gases. The eventual aim is to find some of the nations, industries, companies, and facilities who are contributing the most greenhouse gases and in turn to climate change.
Why? According to Mark Brownstein, a senior vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund, which plans to launch its MethaneSAT in 2021, “Space-based technologies are allowing us for the first time to quickly and cheaply measure greenhouse gases.
“Oftentimes both government and industry are not fully aware of the magnitude of the opportunity to cut emissions. With that data, they can take action.”
The production of greenhouse gases like methane is at times underestimated by governments and across industries. Satellites like these will be able to properly identify individual methane plumes from wastewater plants, landfills, and oil and gas facilities.
Still in its Infancy
Being able to effectively track and measures greenhouse gases is a crucial component to combat global warming. Global warming will alter our weather, change human life, and create more hostile natural habitats. Yet, at times the data we collect regarding greenhouse gases can be inaccurate due to distortions.
Though this satellite program is still in its infancy, it has the potential to offer more precise measurements as well as the opportunity to combine ground-based calculations.