It took ten years of hard work for scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to get to this moment. But in July 2014, they launched a new satellite, OCO-2, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.


This satellite will observe the earth breathing carbon dioxide in and out – telling us precisely where CO2 is emitted and absorbed.

Eldering: “We know what we emit, but we don’t know where it all goes.”

That’s Ann Marie Eldering, Deputy Project Scientist for OCO-2. She says half of the world’s carbon emissions do not stay in the atmosphere. The land and ocean act as sponges, or carbon sinks — taking up the rest.

Eldering: “And there’s still uncertainty about which parts of the forest do it, which parts of the ocean, and whether they change.”

The OCO-2 satellite will measure these changes so we can better understand the sources of carbon emissions and protect critical carbon sinks, such as forests. The data is expected to start arriving in late 2014.

This NASA mission to explore our own planet will provide vital information about global climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: OCO-2 satellite (source: NASA)

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NASA OCO-2 website
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Julia Kumari Drapkin founded ISeeChange after a decade of reporting natural disasters and climate change across the globe and in her own backyard on the Gulf Coast. She is the founder of ISeeChange, a...