“Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific,” according to the Boe Declaration of the 18 countries at the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in September 2018. It’s not only carbon emissions like methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that disturb the atmosphere and threaten climate change, but also high concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and formaldehyde (HCHO) along with various aerosol halocarbons (CFCs) that, together, have a devastating impact on the environment over time.
At SpaceKnow, we have been monitoring air pollution via the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (S5P) since its launch in October 2017, as the first of its kind to monitor air quality and composition, for a mission of seven years. We monitor, track and analyze all of these pollutants through spectral analysis and are one of the ESA’s official validation teams for the Sentinel-5P, focusing on validating the formaldehyde (HCHO) product.
The TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) is the detection instrument (spectrometer) on board the Copernicus S5P satellite. TROPOMI works by comparing reflected light from Earth’s atmosphere with direct sunlight at various wavelengths, from infrared to ultraviolet. It uses diffraction gratings to split this light, allowing it to sift out the spectral fingerprints of its target trace gases.