WUWT reader Anna V. alerts us to the preliminary report from the JAXA GOSAT Project. According to the project website:
The Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) Project is a joint effort promoted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).
NIES organized the research team dedicated to the GOSAT project within its organization in April 2004, and since then has been working for the research and development with respect to GOSAT “IBUKI”.
For a complete description of how GOSAT works, please read their summary here (PDF)
First let’s have a look at Global Methane (CH4):
Note that the areas with the most concentration of methane are in China, Middle East, Southern Europe, and Africa.
The real surprise comes from the GOSAT CO2 data analysis. This first global CO2 map released from GOSAT is shown below:
While this is just a short data set comprising a few days from April 20-28th 2009, it does show some surprising features for hotspots of CO2 in the atmosphere over many of the same areas methane had higher concentrations. One difference is that some spots in the Eastern USA, presumably the larger cities, show CO2 hotspots also. From looking at the large CO2 map, it appears Atlanta, Charlotte, and NYC are the three cities in the USA with higher CO2 concentrations.
However, China, India, Southern Europe, the Mideast and Africa have the majority of the CO2 hotspots.
Here’s what JAXA has to say about their CO2 analysis:
Carbon dioxide column averaged dry air mole fractions (XCO2) for clear-sky scenes analyzed using observations at shortwave infrared bands (radiance spectrum uncalibrated data) from the IBUKI greenhouse gas observation sensor (TANSO-FTS). Clear-sky scenes at individual TANSO-FTS observation points are determined using measurements from the cloud/aerosol sensor (TANSO-CAI). Data are excluded where the associated radiance spectra are saturated, and where noise is relatively large due to weak ground surface reflection.
In the initial analysis, the late April observation data shows a hemispheric gradient, with larger values over the Northern Hemisphere (Note 1), consistent with other measurements. Derived XCO2 values are generally lower than model predictions (Note 2). This is thought to be due to the analysis involving uncalibrated radiance spectrum data and due to the parameter adjustment for the analysis method not being finalized. High concentrations are observed over continental China and Central Africa, which may be caused by measurement interference due to the presence of atmospheric dust. Asian dust (yellow sands) were observed over continental China during the observation period, and the existence of dust storm-like and smoke-like phenomena were observed in the relevant locations in Africa. Future investigation is required to understand these errors. Data calibration, processing parameter adjustment, and product validation required for quantitative discussion of the analysis results, will be carried out in the future.
(Note 1) The analysis showed Northern Hemisphere results to be on average around 10 ppm higher than Southern Hemisphere results. An atmospheric transport model calculation predicts the difference between north and south at this time to be 2-4 ppm.
(Note 2) Southern Hemisphere values were on average approximately 17 ppm lower than the model calculation, while Northern Hemisphere latitude band average values were approximately 7-12 ppm lower.
It will be very interesting to see if the hotspot CO2 distribution holds with more data from GOSAT. If it does we’ll be asking the question of why the USA seems to have less CO2 concentrations than other parts of the world. I’m sure it will fuel some political and policy debate.
We’ll be watching for releases of more complete data with better coverage.