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Envisat enables first global check of regional methane emissions

ributed to human activities including energy production and farming.

The overall global source strength of methane is relatively well known," Frankenberg adds. "However the spatial distribution of the emissions, the variations over the year and their division into difference source categories which is of particular importance for emission monitoring are still very uncertain. Natural sources of methane are particularly uncertain, and anthropogenic emission estimates rely mostly on socio-economic figures."

SCIAMACHY: sifting through sunlight

SCIAMACHY is a spectrometer that maps the air over a very wide wavelength range, allowing the detection of trace gases, clouds and dust particles throughout the atmosphere.

It uses an innovative technique called Differential Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) to find spectral absorption 'fingerprints' of trace gases within sunlight transmitted, reflected or scattered by the Earth's atmosphere or surface in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions. Possessing a 960-kilometre swath SCIAMACHY covers the entire world every six days.

This versatile instrument represents a national contribution to ESA's Envisat mission. SCIAMACHY was funded by the German government through the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch government through the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR) and also the Belgian government through the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).

Principal Investigator for the SCIAMACHY instrument is John Burrows, also leader of the University of Bremen Institute of Environmental Physics: "SCIAMACHY was primarily selected for flight because of its ability to measure stratospheric ozone and related species. However it was also proposed to investigate the retrieval of trace constituents from the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere.

"When SCIAMACHY was conceived, many scientists thought it would be impossible to ob
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
18-Mar-2005


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