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The complementarity of satellite data dedicated to the study of greenhouse gases

Today, global warming is a reality. The situation alarms the climate experts who are formal: the earth is warming up and at a steady pace.

The greenhouse effect is the main cause of global warming that is disrupting our ecosystems. Originally, the greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that contributes to maintaining the average temperature level. Unfortunately, the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by human activities are added to those released by natural phenomena and cause the climate to warm up.

In order to find effective and sustainable solutions to climate change, we must be able to monitor, understand and predict global changes. It is thanks to satellite technology that we can collect this valuable information.


Data collected by space agencies

Different satellites are used by space agencies to collect data on greenhouse gases. These data are then collected and shared with government agencies (NASA, ESA…) and scientific organizations from different countries. Here are some examples of existing satellites and the information they provide:

The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) is a remote sensing satellite of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Its mission is to measure the concentrations of potent greenhouse gases at over 56,000 points in the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition, it analyzes carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor by making observations at four wavelengths, and calculates the thickness and extent of cloud cover.

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO2) is a remote sensing satellite that assesses the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It tracks the location of carbon dioxide sources and natural carbon sinks on a regional scale. The data collected improve the understanding of the carbon cycle, natural processes and human activities that contribute to changes in the abundance and geographic distribution of greenhouse gases. This allows for more reliable predictions of changes in the amount and geographic distribution of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and the impact of these changes on the Earth’s climate.

A future mission of the French space agency (CNES) is the launch of the MicroCarb satellite, which must quantify the exchange of carbon dioxide present in the Earth’s atmosphere over all regions of the globe and especially in areas poorly covered by terrestrial instrumentation. The scientific objective is to establish the carbon balance in vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, Africa and the boreal regions whose soil and vegetation are likely to release CO2 in the near future. The volumes of this greenhouse gas can play a significant role in climate change. The satellite is scheduled to be placed in orbit in 2023.

The exploitation of these hyperspectral Earth observation data (open source and GIS solutions) constitutes an essential knowledge to produce a global and complete view of the state of our planet.

Committed to the fight against global warming, Absolut Sensing has developed a satellite-based solution for measuring greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane.

Methane is responsible for about 30% of the global temperature rise since the beginning of the industrial era, and emissions of this gas reached record levels for the third consecutive year in 2022.

Absolut Sensing deploys a satellite constellation, called GESat, capable of providing a reliable and accurate global measurement system of methane emissions on industrial sites. They offer near-real-time data collection and processing, and ensure accurate and rigorous data feedback for civilian, military and scientific applications.

By combining Absolut System’s cryogenic expertise with Kayrros’ artificial intelligence and data processing technologies, the GESat satellite constellation provides access to spectral bands previously inaccessible to smallsats, including the long-wave infrared bands (SWIR and MWIR).

Absolut Sensing’s remote sensing solutions and services for measuring greenhouse gas emissions (methane, CO2) are applied on local (e.g. factory), regional (city/region) and global scales. The geo-referenced data allows targeting areas where actions can be effectively carried out to reduce emissions (leak detection).

The pooling of data from the GESat satellite constellation and hyperspectral Earth observation data (open source and GIS solutions) allows Absolut Sensing to support each actor in the fight against global warming.