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1 March 2008NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory: measuring the column averaged carbon dioxide mole fraction from space
The NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) will make space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize regional scale CO2 sources and sinks and quantify their vari¬ability over the seasonal cycle. This mission will be launched in December 2008 and will fly in a 705 km altitude, 1:26 PM sun-synchronous orbit that provides complete coverage of the sunlit hemisphere with a 16-day ground track repeat cycle. OCO carries a single instrument designed to make co-boresighted spectroscopic measurements of reflected sunlight in near-infrared CO2 and molecular oxygen (O2) bands. These CO2 and O2 measurements will be combined to provide spatially resolved estimates of the column averaged CO2 dry air mole fraction, XCO2. The instrument collects 12 to 24 XCO2 soundings/second over the sunlit portion of the orbit, yielding 200 to 400 soundings per degree of latitude, or 7 to 14 million soundings every 16 days. Existing studies indicate that at least 10% of these soundings will be sufficiently cloud free to yield XCO2 estimates with accuracies of ~0.3 to 0.5% (1 to 2 ppm) on regional scales every month.
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David Crisp, Charles E. Miller, Philip L. DeCola, "NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory: measuring the column averaged carbon dioxide mole fraction from space," J. Appl. Rem. Sens. 2(1) 023508 (1 March 2008) https://doi.org/10.1117/1.2898457