TanSat (or CarbonSat), China's first satellite dedicated to monitor the carbon dioxide (CO2), was launched on Dec. 22, 2016, making China the third country with its own satellite to monitor greenhouse gases after Japan and the United States.
The TanSat mission is designed to retrieve the atmosphere column-averaged CO2 dry air mole fraction (XCO2) with precisions of 1% (4 ppm). “TanSat data will be used in CO2 detection and climate change research,” explained LU Daren, PI of TanSat scientific application, and also member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at IAP.
The satellite carries two instruments into space: a hyperspectral grating spectrometer for CO2 and a moderate resolution polarization imaging spectrometer for cloud and aerosol observations (CAPI). Scientists from Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) are ready to dig into the data that’ll be transferred from these two instruments.
IAP scientists have been intensively involved in the manufacture of the two payloads and the development of TanSat data application systems since 2011.
Prof. LU and his assistant LIU Yi witnessed the launch at 3:22 a.m. Thursday. Prof. LIU Yi led a team for the development of an advanced CO2 retrieval algorithm for satellite measurements.
"The retrieved XCO2 from GOSAT satellite agrees well with TCCON measurements in a RMSE of 1.48 ppmv. This will provide the theoretical basis for TanSat data retrieval," said LIU.
Carbon cycle data assimilation system (Tan-Tracker) is another contribution made by IAP scientists led by Prof. TIAN Xiangjun. The Tan-tracker is designed to be applied to produce the flux of CO2.
For IAP scientists, the successful launch of TanSat is the first step in its mission. The algorithm and data assimilation system developed by IAP scientists paved the way for TanSat’s later operational data processing systems.
The TanSat project will help improve our understanding on the global CO2 budget and its contribution to the climate change, and monitor the CO2 flux on seasonal time scales.