Global warming has become a very serious issue for human beings. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3), making it mandatory for developed nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by six (6) to eight (8) per cent of their total emissions in 1990, and to meet this goal sometime between 2008 and 2012.
The Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) is designed to monitor the global distribution of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the space. GOSAT is a joint project of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Ministry of Environment (MOE), and the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES). JAXA is responsible for the satellite and instrument development, MOE is involved in the instrument development, and NIES is responsible for the satellite data retrieval. The satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2008. In order to detect the CO2 variation of boundary layers, both the technique to measure the column density and the retrieval algorithm to remove cloud and aerosol contamination are investigated. Main mission sensor of the GOSAT is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer with high optical throughput, spectral resolution and wide spectral coverage, and a cloud-aerosol detecting imager attached to the satellite. The paper presents the mission sensor system of the GOSAT together with the results of performance demonstration with proto-type instrument aboard an aircraft.