Where: Tokyo, Japan
January 23, 2009 : A space centre in Tanegashima, a remote island about 970 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, today launched the first satellite designed to monitor carbon dioxide emissions. It is named ‘Ibuki’, which means ‘breath’. The satellite has sensors which can measure light reflected from earth, and gauge the density of carbon dioxide and methane. These two gases are the biggest contributors to global warming,
Ibuki will circle the globe every 100 minutes, and will monitor the levels of carbon dioxide and methane from 56,000 locations for the next five years. At present the sites that measure these emissions are land-based, and they are unevenly distributed over the globe. Ibuki’s capabilities will make it possible to monitor levels all over the world, especially in developing nations where there are no facilities.
An official working on the project for Japan’s Environment Ministry said, “Japan is fully committed to reducing CO2.” The data collected by the satellite will be shared with the space organisation NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in the United States, which has plans to launch its own greenhouse gas monitoring satellite soon.