APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

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APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by APOD Robot » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:10 am

Image OCO-2 Night Launch

Explanation: In this alluring time exposure, star trails arc across the night sky above foggy Monterey Bay and the lights of Santa Cruz, California in the United States of America. Since the exposure began around 2:56am PDT on July 2 it also records the trail of a Delta II rocket lofting NASA's OCO-2 spacecraft into orbit. Seen from a vantage point 200 miles north of the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site, the trail represents the first five minutes of the rocket's flight along a trajectory south and west over the Pacific to join the A-Train in polar orbit around planet Earth. The entire trail through main engine cut-off is captured, with a very faint puff at the end marking the nose fairing separation. Under the rocket's path, the two brightest trails are the alpha and beta stars of the constellation Grus, flying high in southern skies. The OCO-2 mission goal is a study of atmospheric carbon dioxide, watching from space as planet Earth breathes.

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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by geckzilla » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:21 am

Even though I get the idea how it works, spectroscopy is borderline magical to me. We won't be able to tell at what altitude CO2 concentrates at, if any, with OCO-2's measurements, will we?
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by neufer » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:11 am

geckzilla wrote:
Even though I get the idea how it works, spectroscopy is borderline magical to me. We won't be able to tell at what altitude CO2 concentrates at, if any, with OCO-2's measurements, will we?
To some extent yes (with a crude vertical resolution of only about 8 km). However, most of the "Total Integrated Column " carbon dioxide and almost all of its spatial & temporal variation occurs in the lower 8 km of the troposphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will primarily be concentrating on mapping these lower tropospheric sources & storage places of carbon dioxide and their changes over time.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by Boomer12k » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:12 am

Streaks in the Night.....Mysterious.....

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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by Boomer12k » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:18 am

neufer wrote:
geckzilla wrote:
Even though I get the idea how it works, spectroscopy is borderline magical to me. We won't be able to tell at what altitude CO2 concentrates at, if any, with OCO-2's measurements, will we?
To some extent yes (with a crude vertical resolution of only about 8 km). However, most of the "Total Integrated Column " carbon dioxide and almost all of its spatial & temporal variation occurs in the lower 8 km of the troposphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will primarily be concentrating on mapping these lower tropospheric sources & storage places of carbon dioxide and their changes over time.
Neufer...it is interesting in your illustration....NONE of the areas are less than Green..... :shock:

I would indeed like and appreciate EVERYONE'S considered opinions about this, and what it actually means....

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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by neufer » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:12 pm

Boomer12k wrote:
Neufer...it is interesting in your illustration....NONE of the areas are less than Green..... :shock:

I would indeed like and appreciate EVERYONE'S considered opinions about this, and what it actually means....
They are using an inappropriate color scheme :?:

Actually, this is a rather old measurement.

More recent measurements are all much higher and must use a color scheme with lowest values ~388 ppm.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by zbvhs » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:35 pm

Has anyone specifically tied global warming to human activity, that is, a scientifically verifiable link and not just inference? (The hockey stick plot starts going up beginning in the 1800s, ergo,...)
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by geckzilla » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:09 pm

zbvhs wrote:Has anyone specifically tied global warming to human activity, that is, a scientifically verifiable link and not just inference? (The hockey stick plot starts going up beginning in the 1800s, ergo,...)
People are burning fuels which release CO2 as part of a chemical reaction. This has been measured and remeasured. It's coming from obvious sources and some less obvious ones. Cars and coal power plants are the most obvious. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has steadily increased since humans started doing this. The global temperature average closely follows this trend. CO2 is known to contribute to the greenhouse effect. It's not a difficult conclusion to make. We're altering the climate. One of my favorite websites is this list of myths.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Just remember it takes an order of magnitude more effort to refute the myths than it does to come up with them.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by zbvhs » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:42 pm

But then, what can we do about it if anything? The US has 5% of the world's population and direct control over 2% of the world's air. We can spend billions to clean up our own air and have no effect whatsoever on the global problem. Our clean air will be blown out to the east to be replaced by cruddy air coming in from the west. Sounds like a proverbial exercise in futility.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by geckzilla » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:19 pm

Everyone has to change. It's not very inspiring to anyone when half the people in a rich country such as the U.S. won't even admit that it's a problem and fight tooth and nail against it. I'm not going to bother with the details in the economics but I have no reason to believe that it's not well within our means to move away from fossil fuels with some reasonable goals in mind.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:07 pm

geckzilla wrote:Even though I get the idea how it works, spectroscopy is borderline magical to me. We won't be able to tell at what altitude CO2 concentrates at, if any, with OCO-2's measurements, will we?
One very cool thing this satellite can do is to measure chlorophyll fluorescence. Turns out that about 1% of the energy striking chlorophyll is re-emitted as red light. OCO-2 has an instrument that can detect this. Until now, there's been no direct way to monitor photosynthetic activity from space, just proxies that are sometimes poor. For instance, evergreens are green year-round, even though they are not absorbing carbon during the winter. It will now be possible to directly measure the carbon sink activity of vegetation at a fine scale (both spatially and temporally) all over the world. That will allow for a lot more information into models than just CO2 measurements alone.
Chris

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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by neufer » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:09 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:10 pm

zbvhs wrote:Has anyone specifically tied global warming to human activity, that is, a scientifically verifiable link and not just inference? (The hockey stick plot starts going up beginning in the 1800s, ergo,...)
The relationship between global energy balance (different from simple temperature) and atmospheric carbon dioxide is very solid. And the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is unmistakably caused by humans, as established by its different isotopic composition than seen from natural sources.

The bottom line is that the current temperature rise is tied to human activity by many independent lines of evidence, and additionally cannot be explained by any non-human causes.
Chris

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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:15 pm

zbvhs wrote:But then, what can we do about it if anything? The US has 5% of the world's population and direct control over 2% of the world's air. We can spend billions to clean up our own air and have no effect whatsoever on the global problem. Our clean air will be blown out to the east to be replaced by cruddy air coming in from the west. Sounds like a proverbial exercise in futility.
Not at all. First of all, the world economy is based on energy, and whoever controls clean renewable energy sources will dominate that economy. It's not a coincidence that China is massively funding clean energy research and also investing more money in clean energy sources than any other country (despite having a lower per capita carbon footprint than western developed nations). The U.S. generates a lot of carbon, and reducing it is a start. We will develop technology used by others. We (and the other developed western nations) do have a significant direct impact, and we get the ball rolling for the whole world (unless China beats us).
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by geckzilla » Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:30 am

Chris Peterson wrote:It will now be possible to directly measure the carbon sink activity of vegetation at a fine scale (both spatially and temporally) all over the world. That will allow for a lot more information into models than just CO2 measurements alone.
I created an analogy for myself to try to put it into perspective. Without OCO-2 we are essentially lighting many tiny candles to illuminate the picture of Earth's atmospheric CO2. Not only that, but the picture is moving. You could also say it's like trying to figure out what kind of shape an animal takes by looking at it one hair at a time while it's running around. OCO-2 will be more like shining a spotlight on the whole thing at once. Should be quite an enlightening experience.
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:00 pm

geckzilla wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
It will now be possible to directly measure the carbon sink activity of vegetation at a fine scale (both spatially and temporally) all over the world. That will allow for a lot more information into models than just CO2 measurements alone.
Without OCO-2 we are essentially lighting many tiny candles to illuminate the picture of Earth's atmospheric CO2. Not only that, but the picture is moving... Should be quite an enlightening experience.
It will now be possible to directly visualize the carbon source activity of polluters at a fine scale (both spatially & temporally) all over the world. (Satellite pictures of the Antarctic Ozone Hole did wonders for international action on CFCs).
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Re: APOD: OCO-2 Night Launch (2014 Jul 04)

Post by geckzilla » Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:45 pm

neufer wrote:It will now be possible to directly visualize the carbon source activity of polluters at a fine scale (both spatially & temporally) all over the world. (Satellite pictures of the Antarctic Ozone Hole did wonders for international action on CFCs).
I wonder what the resolution will be. Could we see red blobs over busy cities? Busy air and marine corridors? Busy highways? Maybe the output by coal power plants far outshines the diffuse output by transportation. Having a weather-map of carbon concentration might actually convince some deniers. Of course, they might also just continue to say it's a conspiracy and only show us the map of the area around an active volcano... hey, it's been working for them so far.
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