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Envisat makes first ever observation of regionally elevated CO2 from manmade emissions
Date:3/18/2008

going in one direction whereas the natural fluxes operate in both directions, taking up atmospheric CO2 when plants grow, but releasing most or all of it again later when the plants decay. This results in higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the first half of a year followed by lower CO2 during the second half of a year with a minimum around August.

"That we are able to detect regionally elevated CO2 over Europe shows the high quality of the SCIAMACHY CO2 measurements."

Buchwitz says further analysis is required in order to draw quantitative conclusions in terms of CO2 emissions. "We verified that the CO2 spatial pattern that we measure correlates well with current CO2 emission databases and population density but more studies are needed before definitive quantitative conclusions concerning CO2 emissions can be drawn."

Significant gaps remain in the knowledge of carbon dioxides sources, such as fires, volcanic activity and the respiration of living organisms, and its natural sinks, such as the land and ocean.

"We know that about half of the CO2 emitted by mankind each year is taken up by natural sinks on land and in the oceans. We do not know, however, where exactly these important sinks are and to what extent they take up the CO2 we are emitting, i.e., how strong they are.

"We also dont know how these sinks will respond to a changing climate. It is even possible that some of these sinks will saturate or turn into a CO2 source in the future. With our satellite measurements we hope to be able to provide answers to questions like this in order to make reliable predictions," Buchwitz said.

By better understanding all of the parameters involved in the carbon cycle, scientists can better predict climate change as well as better monitor international treaties aimed at reducing g
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert  

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