January 21, 2022 4:34 pm

CO2M: ESA’s carbon dioxide monitoring satellite

Francisco Martin Leon 5 min
Illustrative image of the CO2M satellite. THIS

With many nations promising net CO2 emissions to be zero by 2050, pressure is on to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, but the race is also on to support monitoring that shows that the targets Are being fulfilled. Therefore, ESA, the European Commission, Eumetsat and industrial partners are working extremely hard to make the mission Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring, CO2M, be ready for your take off in 2025.

Given that the reality of climate change is hitting hard, the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C is critical if we have any hope of fighting climate change, and the best way to do that is to reduce emissions. of greenhouse gases. However, understanding that goals are being met is also a priority, and the best way to do this is from space.

The mission Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring, or CO2M for short, is one of the six Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions that ESA is developing on behalf of the EU. These missions of high priority will address EU policy and gaps in the needs of Copernicus users, expanding the current capabilities of the Copernicus program, the world’s largest provider of Earth observation data.

CO2M mission

CO2M is planned as a two satellite mission, with the option of a third satellite. Each of them will carry a near-infrared and short-wave infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide at high spatial resolution. These measurements will be used by the new CO2M Monitoring and Verification Support Capability , which is developing the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and which will eventually reduce uncertainties in estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion at the local, national and regional levels.

This will provide the EU with a single and independent source of information to assess the effectiveness of policy measures and track their impact on the decarbonization of Europe and compliance with national emission reduction targets.

In addition, nations around the world will be able to transparently assess and compare how they are meeting their goals.

Yasjka Meijer, ESA CO2M mission scientist, said: “Surprisingly, the mission will allow us to distinguish between natural sources of carbon dioxide and sources that are the result of human activity. This is not an easy matter because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from many sources, but each source only contributes a small amount. We need to measure very precisely whether the mission is going to provide reliable data to ensure that governments are meeting their objectives. “.

With such an important task ahead, CO2M development is running at full speed and the industrial team is working hard to prepare the satellite for life in orbit.

As part of the development, the satellite structural model is at ESA’s ESTEC test facility in the Netherlands, the largest satellite test facility in Europe, equipped to simulate all aspects of the space environment. Agitators are specifically used to simulate launch stresses.

Valerie Fernandez, director of CO2M projects at ESA, explains: “Everyone is working hard to keep the mission unfolding on a tight schedule. The current set of tests is being carried out on the satellite structural model at ESTEC. It is now on a shaker, which tests the mechanical integrity of the satellite to make sure it is stiff enough and will survive launch vibrations.

“These tests will allow us to consolidate the satellite design and move quickly to the next steps in hardware procurement. Although we have to work as efficiently as possible, the team is being very careful and thorough to ensure that CO2M is a world-class mission and something that Europe can be extremely proud of. ”.


Remote sensing

This entry was published in News on 27 Nov 2021 by Francisco Martín León


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