In the early morning hours of July 2nd, an exciting new spacecraft streaked the skies above Los Angeles. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) launched into orbit as it became the first NASA satellite dedicated to making space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).
When OCO-2 begins collecting data in the next few weeks, it will be able to measure carbon dioxide levels at regional scales to an unprecedented accuracy. This is great news for those of us acting locally, as OCO-2 will work in sync with ground sensors to better determine CO2 emissions from the greater Los Angeles area.
Humans release 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Earth’s land surface and ocean absorb about half of these emissions, but where exactly this carbon ends up is a bit of a mystery. OCO-2 will show us where CO2 is emitted and where it is absorbed and stored. As an increase in CO2 is directly correlated to our warming planet, data from OCO-2 will be critical to completely understanding our climate and what affect we on Earth have.
“I think OCO-2 will clearly show that we can make very precise, global measurements of carbon dioxide from space,” says Dr. Annemarie Eldering, OCO-2′s Deputy Project Scientist. “It will reduce uncertainty about how the atmosphere, plants and oceans cycle carbon dioxide from one to the other.”
OCO-2 is the sequel to the original OCO, which failed to make it into orbit after a payload fairing failed to separate during launch in 2009. NASA hopes that information from the sequel will help policymakers and business leaders make better decisions to ensure climate stability and ensure our communities continue to thrive.
— NASA OCO-2 (@IamOCO2) July 2, 2014
Climate Resolve was thrilled to be a part of the NASA Social team to cover the launch of OCO-2. Stay-tuned for more groundbreaking findings from this mission.
NASA Social participants with OCO-2 before launch.
Finally ready to nix your water-thirsty lawn? To encourage more outdoor water conservation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has increased its Cash In Your Lawn incentive to $3 per square foot from $2 per square foot for residential customers to replace their grass with California Friendly plants and other water-wise landscaping.
Climate change is going to alter the English language. It’s inevitable, just as inevitable as our seas rising and our summers warming.
Here are a few ideas on how usage may change.
Glacial pace currently describes something that moves exceedingly slow. “That climate legislation is moving at a glacial pace.” Unfortunately, even glaciers are no longer moving at glacial pace. Look at these stunning photos of declining Alaskan glaciers. Soon we’ll be saying, “Did you see Dee Gordon steal second base? He was moving at a glacial pace.”
Hey, where’s the flood? is an insult today. It means, buddy, your pants are too short. In coming years, I think people will actually want to know where the flood is. Hey, where’s the flood will be a common question. And, related to fashion, one can predict short pants making a comeback in communities along the coast.
Scorcher means a hot day — which used to be around 90°F in LA. But, what happens when you have 100-140 days per year over 90° (which is predicted for the San Fernando Valley by mid-century)? In the future, we’ll have to reserve scorcher for days above 110°.
Related idea. Sizzler restaurants need to change their name. Icy Cool will do a better job in attracting customers.
The old Irish legend of Cuchulain will become popular. In the W.B. Yeats account, Cuchulain, a great warrior, is bewitched into believing the advancing tide is instead an attacking army. So Cuchulain stands in the surf, fruitlessly wielding his sword against the crashing waves. I predict we’ll turn Cuchulain’s name into verb, as in “LA County Beaches and Harbors is cuchulaining the marina. I don’t think it’s going to work.”
The world is your oyster will no longer apply. With acidification of the oceans we may no longer have oysters — just as we may no longer have elephants to have elephants in the room — all of which paradoxically points to climate change, the biggest elephant in the room.
P.S. Tickets for our 13th Annual Environmental Night at Dodger stadium are going fast. Grab yours today!
Tied intimately to a changing climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide is one of several gases that trap heat near the surface of the Earth — leading to increased temperatures, rising sea levels, and the overall “global weirding” of our planet.
On July 1, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to measure, from space, atmospheric carbon. Data collected from OCO-2 will be combined with ground data to provide scientists with the information they need to better understand the processes that regulate CO2. These findings will ultimately provide a bigger and more complete picture of global CO2.
The image at right demonstrates the CO2 column that OCO-2 will observe as it circles the Earth. Since the abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere varies with the time of day and season, OCO-2 measurements will record changes in CO2 over yearly and seasonal cycles within each year. (Image created by Debbi McLean/GSFC)
Climate Resolve will be at the launch of OCO-2 during the early morning hours of July 1. Learn more about the mission and watch our newsletter as we share important findings.
Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to recommend the approval of a $1 billion proposal to restore and enhance 11 miles of the Los Angeles River.
This critical funding will help restore natural habitat and create wetlands that will ensure climate resilience through improved stormwater capture. Funding will also provide much-needed access points for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy a vital part of the city.
Support from the federal government would not have been possible without the tireless work of Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA River Revitalization Corporation, and Friends of the Los Angeles River. Thank you for your continued dedication to creating a more vibrant river in the heart of Los Angeles.