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In the Air

New Science for Cleaner Air

Satellite technology is a key tool in tackling climate change. It involves satellites orbiting Earth, equipped with special sensors to observe our environment.

These satellites track things like atmospheric gases, sea levels, and weather patterns. This helps scientists understand climate change better, leading to more accurate predictions and informed decisions on how to deal with it.

These satellites can play a big role in reducing the effects of climate change. They monitor greenhouse gas emissions, helping to ensure that countries meet international climate agreements. They also help in the development of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power by providing necessary environmental data. This is crucial for moving towards cleaner, sustainable energy.

Satellites can also aid in adapting to climate change. They provide real-time data for disaster management, helping to predict and monitor events like hurricanes and wildfires. This is vital for timely evacuations and reducing damage. They also assist in agriculture, giving farmers information on soil and crop conditions, which helps them adjust to new climate realities. With ongoing advancements, satellites are becoming even more effective in our fight against climate change.


Monitoring Air Pollution from Space

TEMPO is the first space-based continuous air pollution monitoring instrument for North America.

It enables researchers to study where air pollution comes from, how it moves through our atmosphere, and the ways it affects our forests, oceans, and communities. TEMPO collects pollution data at a resolution of only a couple of miles or about the size of midtown Manhattan or a town like Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Located about 22,000 miles above North America, TEMPO will stay in one spot in the sky and scan the continent hourly during daylight hours.


The TEMPO Science Team is a collaboration of scientists from multiple United States and international organizations with extensive experience in measuring the components of air quality from space. Led by Dr. Kelly Chance from The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, the mission aims to improve our understanding of air quality to help us live safer and healthier lives. View the first images here as collected in August 2023.

Locating the Sleeping Giant of the Climate Crisis

MethaneSAT is a satellite mission focused on tackling climate change by targeting methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

Equipped with advanced sensors, MethaneSAT is designed to precisely measure methane emissions from oil and gas operations worldwide. This allows for accurate tracking of these emissions, providing essential data to both policymakers and industry leaders to make informed decisions in reducing methane release. By focusing on this key contributor to global warming, MethaneSAT plays a crucial role in global efforts to understand and mitigate climate change, representing a significant leap forward in environmental monitoring and action.

Tracking Emissions In the Air From the Air

MethaneAIR is an airborne mission crucial to understanding and combating climate change.

It involves an aircraft with specialized sensors flying over areas with significant methane emissions, like oil and gas fields. These sensors detect and measure methane levels with high precision. This mission is crucial because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. By pinpointing where and how much methane is being released, MethaneAIR helps scientists and policymakers develop more effective strategies to reduce these emissions, making it a vital tool in the fight against climate change.