Welcome to ‘Monitoring Atmospheric Composition from Space’.
This week introduces the important role of the Earth’s atmosphere, what the atmosphere is made up of, how we can monitor it, and the challengers it is facing.
Welcome to ‘Monitoring Atmospheric Composition from Space’.
In this course, we will introduce you to in situ data and satellite ‘Earth observation’ (EO) technology in monitoring our atmosphere, and to the informative and critically important imagery and data it produces.
Why we monitor the Earth’s atmosphere
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) is part of the Copernicus Programme. It provides the capabilities to continuously monitor the Earth Atmosphere at both global and regional scales.
Satellite data is an important part of Copernicus and CAMS as it provides a global picture. The Earth observation satellites that provide data for Copernicus are split into two groups of missions: The Sentinel satellites and other contributing missions.
Many businesses and technological innovations are increasingly responding to environmental issues, and the urgent need for sustainability, leading the world to become awash with green innovation, and renewable energy solutions.
Helen Ltd based in Finland, produce the most efficient energy in the world. They aim to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in their energy production through their power plants in Helsinki, and currently have around 400,000 customers throughout Finland.
In this video Paul Monks and Martin Adams will talk about some more examples of how atmospheric data supports enterprises and innovative solutions, and Iolanda Ialongo talks about how satellite measurements help with rules and regulation.
The atmosphere is made up of complex layers comprises of different air composition and atmospheric pressure.
The Anthropocene is the current geological age, during which human activity has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
Through the use of satellites and in situ data, many different elements of the atmosphere can be measured. It is important to use both satellite and in situ data so we can get as many measurements as possible.
There is a variety of satellites that are capable of measuring atmospheric composition, that utilise many different instruments.
In this video John Burrows and Paul Monks go into more detail about atmospheric missions and instruments.
You can use this satellite missions table to explore all of the Earth observation satellite missions that are mentioned throughout this course.
Week 1 end of week exercise and test
Air quality refers to the chemical composition of trace constituents close to the surface of the earth, which impact on humans. It is a global issue.
In situ measurements are ones that are obtained through direct contact with the respective subject.
Monitoring methods can range from on the ground to planes, towers, spacecraft, or vehicles.
This topic looks at street level monitoring. Many urban areas around the world have local street level air quality monitoring.
In this video Dr David Green goes into more detail about the street level sensors in London, and how they are used to monitor PM10 and PM2.5.
Satellites can measure lots of different sources of atmospheric pollution, such as Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide and Particulate Matter.
In this video Johannes Flemming looks at a model showing Nitrogen Oxides produced from Lightning.
In order to manage the Earth’s resources and control atmospheric pollution from the local to the global scale, international agreements occur.
This topic looks at near real-time applications which can be used by the public to monitor air pollution around them.
This topic looks at citizen science, which involves members of the general public collaborating with scientists on a project.
Week 2 end of week interactive exercise and test
A look at GHGs and climate change, ozone and CFCs, and other types of in situ measurements including high altitude balloons and commercial aircraft
This topic looks at how we monitor and model greenhouse gases, which is pivotal in the monitoring and management of climate change.
This topic looks at the role of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and ozone concentrations over Antarctica.
Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere and measurements of its atmospheric concentration are vital to the monitoring of climate change.
In this topic Philippe Cocquerez will introduce you to high altitude balloon measurements of the atmosphere.
In this topic Frederic Thoumieux looks at high altitude balloon measurements in more depth.
This topic looks at how commercial aircraft can be utilised for monitoring the atmosphere.
Further detail about data acquired by the IAGOS programme, with Hannah Clark.
The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a Multilateral Environmental Agreement that was agreed upon at the Vienna Conference of 1985 and entered into force in 1988.
When studying carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere it is important to know where it is now, but it is also vital to know the sources and sinks in order to understand processes that control the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Week 3 end of week exercise and test
This week looks at the atmospheric transport of aerosols, volcanic emissions and emissions from wildfires.
Transport of pollution in the atmosphere is caused by time-averaged wind flow.
How far air pollutants are transported mainly depends upon particle size of the compounds and the height the pollution was emitted into the air.
In this video Seppo Hassinen talks us through AC SAF (Atmospheric Composition Satellite Application Facility), which is part of the EUMETSAT Application Ground Segment.
As you saw in 4b part 1, aerosols can be emitted from natural sources, these include desert dust, volcanic ash and sea salt, or they can be emitted from anthropogenic sources, which include biomass burning, vehicle emissions, and industrial processes.
Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites will be crucial to volcanic ash monitoring, with their higher resolution imagery and new infrared sounding capabilities.
Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) have specialist forecasters who produce volcanic ash advisories and guidance products using a combination of volcano data; satellite-based, ground-based and aircraft observations; weather forecast models and dispersion models.
Fires and biomass burning can be identified from space in real time. The ‘D-Fire’ sub project in the Copernicus programme provides global emissions from biomass burning to the public and MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition & Climate) services using real time and retrospectively from satellite-based observations of open fires.
Wildfires have been getting worse in recent years due to human activity. In California for example, 2017 was the worst season ever for wildfires. There were a recorded 9,133 fires that burned through more than 1 million acres and killed 43 people in the state, including five of the 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in the state’s history.
There are products that can be used to predict how dust and aerosols will affect solar energy. For example to help farmers re-orientate their solar panels or to help predict solar radiation levels, for management of solar energy production.
There are 5 main aerosol species that are used in CAMS aerosol forecasts, these are: sea-salt, desert dust, organic matter, black carbon and sulphates.
Week 4 interactive exercise
Future Copernicus missions and strategies and future innovations in satellite technology, followed by 3 practical guides.
Copernicus provides free and open access to its data products including CAMS. Data from Copernicus is used by service providers, public authorities and other international organisations.
This topic looks at the future of Copernicus, including missions and strategies.
This topic explores future innovations and satellite missions in depth.
Earth observation data supports effective policy and decision making for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We have now come to the end of ‘Monitoring Atmospheric Composition From Space and the Ground’, congratulations on completing the course and thank you for your participation over the last five weeks.
In this video Rosemary Munro and Jochen Grandell talk about Meteosat Third Generation satellites, which will be part of the Copernicus Programme.
In this second practical guide Mark Higgins shows you four examples of websites which can be used to get atmospheric images and data.
Daniel Lee, Software & Data Format Engineer at EUMETSAT guides you through a variety of free and open software, for you to visualize NetCDF format files.