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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Japan launches satellite (Ubuki-GOSAT) to monitor greenhouse gases (GHG) _Warning-Pollution will nolonger go un-noticed


Japan launched a satellite on Friday 23 Jan2009 to monitor greenhouse gas around the world in the hope that the data it gathers will help global efforts to combat climate change.

The satellite, called "Ubuki" which means "breath or vitality" 2) and methane (CH4) from 56,000 locations on the Earth's surface, including the atmosphere over open seas.


The increased magnitude (X200) far surpasses the 282 land-based observation sites, most of which are in the United States, Europe and other industrialized regions.

Japanese officials hope the data will add credence to existing research on greenhouse gases, including reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of hundreds of scientists.

Ubuki will circle the planet every 100 minutes for the next five years collecting information about carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) (two of the main "greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

"Global warming is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity. Japan- home to the Kyoto Treaty to fight GW-Global Warming is of course fully committed to reducing CO2,"

"The advantage of Ubuki is that it can monitor the density of CO2 and methane (CH4) gas anywhere in the world."

The satellite will orbit at about 415 miles (670 kilometers) above Earth, tracking CO2 and methane levels from a whopping 56,000 locations.

Japanese officials hope the data will add credence to existing research on greenhouse gases, including reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of hundreds of scientists.

The measurements are expected to contribute to raising certainties in IPCC research that greenhouse gases are increasing, reports Yasushi Tadami, deputy director of research and information at the Environment Ministry's global environment bureau.

It is also expected to advance research on the mechanism of carbon cycles.

Equipped with two sensors, the satellite will track infrared rays from the Earth, which will help calculate the densities of carbon dioxide and methane because these two greenhouse gases absorb the rays at certain wavelengths.

The USA's NASA. is set to launch its own, $277-million Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) on February 23. Like Ibuki, the OCO will monitor carbon dioxide emissions with the goal of predicting the course of climate change. The satellite will make 16-day cycles around Earth from 483 miles (777 kilometers) up, according to the Discovery Channel.

Both satellites come as about 190 countries try to craft a broader climate treaty by December to replace the Kyoto Protocol that binds wealthy nations to emissions targets between 2008 and 2012.

More ... cf. sources below.

Sources:
IBUKI (GOSAT) Dedicated Offical Site at the Japanese Space Exploration Agency -JAXA .

Principles Schematics of the GHG measurement and monitoring from JAXA.

Some News Sources:
1. Reuters,
2. Scientific American Blog.
3. Discovery Channel


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