The SCIAMACHY sensor aboard Envisat has performed the first space-based measurements of the global distribution of near-surface methane, one of the most important greenhouse gases. As reported in Thursdays issue of Science Express, the results show larger than expected emissions across tropical land regions.
The report concerns work carried out by the Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP) at the University of Heidelberg in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI), based on interpretation of methane observations made by the SCanning Imaging Absorption SpectroMeter for Atmospheric ChartographY (SCIAMACHY) instrument, one of ten sensors aboard ESAs Envisat environmental satellite.
A comparison was made between space-based methane observations and model simulations for atmospheric methane for the time period August to November 2003. "In general the observations agree very well with the model," explains Christian Frankenberg of IUP. "For example, the measurements confirm the occurrence of enhanced methane concentrations over the Ganges plains in India as well as parts of China caused by emissions from rice paddies and domestic ruminants such as cattle".
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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