Max Planck Gesellschaft

Satellite-based remote sensing of greenhouse gases (SRS)

Satellite-based remote sensing delivers information about the distribution of trace gases in the atmosphere with extraordinary spatial coverage and temporal resolution, providing orders of magnitude more observations than the traditional ground-based measurement networks. However these data are less accurate than ground-based measurements, and are often plagued by systematic errors which can be difficult to diagnose and correct. Nonetheless, this relatively new data stream has the potential to enrich our knowledge of the earth system and its processes, particularly in regions where the current measurement network is lacking.

This group works on the application of existing measurements of column-integrated carbon dioxide and methane (XCO2 and XCH4 respectively), using them in inversion studies to better constrain surface fluxes of these important greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the group is involved in the planning of new satellite missions, providing scientific input to help guide the planning of these missions so that the maximum scientific yield might be gained. Finally, this group also carries out research to determine how best to validate and compare column measurements against other measurements, be they in-situ profiles measured by aircraft or total columns measured by FTIR. Such comparisons are necessary in order to diagnose and correct for measurement errors in the satellite retrievals.

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