National Academies Press: OpenBook

Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade (2008)

Chapter: GEO-CAPE, Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events

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Suggested Citation:"GEO-CAPE, Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events ." National Research Council. 2008. Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11952.
Page 15

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Earth Science and Applications from Space 15 GEO-CAPE Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events Launch: 2013–2016 Mission size: Medium Orbit: GEO Agency: NASA Estimated cost: $550 million Areas of interest: Ecosystems, Health, Water, Weather Instruments: High-spatial-resolution hyperspectral spectrometer, low-spatial-resolution imaging spectrometer, infrared correlation radiometer Benefits:  Predictions of impacts from oil spills, fires, water pollution from sewage and other sources, fertilizer runoff, and other environmental threats Detection and tracking of waterborne hazardous materials Monitoring and improvement of coastal health Improved forecasts of air quality The growing concentration of people living near coasts is exerting enormous pressure on coastal ecosystems. The impacts include declining fisheries, harmful algal blooms, and more than 20 persistent “dead zones” worldwide, including the Mississippi Delta. The twin stressors of climate change and population growth create an imperative to monitor changes in coastal oceans. At the same time, poor air quality threatens human and ecosystem health in many parts of the world. The current observation system for air quality is inadequate for measuring human exposure to pollutants and for crafting emissions control strategies. The suite of instruments aboard GEO-CAPE will improve observations of coastal ocean health and air quality across the Americas. From a point in space above roughly 80°W longitude, two spectrom- eters will sense reflected sunlight within several narrow wavelength bands. One spectrometer will scan at the continental scale, providing hourly data at a resolution of 7 kilometers. It will measure natural and human-produced substances in rivers and oceans as well as gases and aerosols in the atmosphere, including those that react in sunlight to form polluting low-level ozone. The other spectrometer is a steerable imager that can gather data at a resolution of 250 meters on high-impact events such as large-scale fertilizer runoffs, industrial accidents, and other environmental disasters. An infrared correlation radiometer will measure carbon monoxide (CO) in tandem with the continental-scale spectrometer. Together, they will allow for vertical CO profiles that help trace the long-range transport of pollution.

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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade brings the next ten years into focus for the Earth and environmental science community with a prioritized agenda of space programs, missions, and supporting activities that will best serve scientists in the next decade. These missions will address a broad range of societal needs, such as more reliable weather forecasts, early earthquake warnings, and improved pollution management, benefiting both scientific discovery and the health and well-being of society.

Based on the 2007 book, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, this book explores each of the seventeen recommended missions in detail, identifying launch dates, responsible agencies, estimated cost, scientific and public benefits, and more. Printed entirely in color, the book features rich photographs and illustrations, tables, and graphs that will keep the attention of scientists and non-scientists alike.


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