Satellite measures how the Earth is breathing

Our paper on “Does GOSAT capture the true seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide?” has been published at ACP (Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics)! In the paper, we study the average seasonal variability of satellite-retrieved carbon dioxide concentrations. This variability mostly comes from plant photosynthesis — in that sense, we poetically measure the breathing of our planet from space.

We compared 5 years of satellite measurements from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) to ground-based measurements at the TCCON sites, other retrieval algorithms, and inverse models that assimilate in situ measurements. This is the first time when the accuracy of satellite-retrieved CO2 seasonal cycle is thoroughly evaluated.

Main results:

  •  GOSAT seasonal cycle amplitude is generally accurate to within 1 ppm.
  • GOSAT maximum XCO2 is 2–3 weeks delayed from TCCON but minimum is accurately captured.
  • We found surprisingly that the differences between modelled seasonal cycles can be larger than GOSAT-to-model differences.
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Academy of Finland post-doc

Earlier this year I was granted a three-year natural sciences post-doc position by the Academy of Finland (see press release). The topic of my successful research plan is “Clouds, aerosols and OCO-2: Quantifying the impact of small-particle light scattering on satellite-retrieved carbon dioxide”, and I will work on this topic at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, collaborating with the Nasa OCO-2 Science Implementation Team and Colorado State University.

Post to CSU SoGES blog

A blog post of mine, entitled The Hunt for the Mysterious Carbon Sink, just got published at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability’s (SoGES) blog. I wanted to write about the land CO2 sink, and why it is so crucial in terms of the current and future climate change. The topic is strongly related to the motivation of my current research in the OCO-2 project, although not directly about my own studies. I wrote this blog text as a part of my Sustainability Leadership Fellow 2014-2015 program at Colorado State University.