How Aerosols Helped Untangle Carbon Monoxide Trends
Rebecca Buccholz comments on MOPITT measurements
NASA’s Terra satellite has been taking measurements of Earth’s atmosphere for more than two decades. One of the five sensors on board, Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT), makes daily measurements of the air pollutant carbon monoxide.
Over the past two decades, MOPITT’s science team has observed a significant decline in global concentrations of carbon monoxide. “We wanted to know what’s driving that trend,” said Rebecca Buchholz, an atmospheric scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “But that’s challenging to untangle because there are several sources of carbon monoxide, including fires, transportation, industry, and vegetation.”