Satellites measure power plant emissions for the 1st time

NASA has measured fluctuations in the amount of carbon dioxide released by Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant in a first-of-its-kind study that paves the way for independent worldwide monitoring of human-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) spacecraft, launched in 2014, and its sister instrument OCO-3, which has been mounted on the International Space Station since 2019, primarily focus on mapping concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere on the regional and continental level. But a team of researchers led by Ray Nassar, a senior researcher at Environment and Climate Change Canada, recently managed to use the satellites’ measurements to extract a detailed track record of peaks and troughs in the emission intensity of a single power plant.

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