NASA awarded a five-year, $30 million mission for an improved understanding of greenhouse gas sources and sinks. The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America (ACT-America) mission is being led by Penn State to advance our ability to predict future climate change.
The Penn State project will measure atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases within weather systems across the eastern United States. The project will use airborne, satellite and ground-based observations.
This mission is one of five NASA Earth Venture-class missions happening around the world in 2015. The funding comes from NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program to improve our understanding of Earth systems.
"This mission is focused primarily on ecosystem fluxes of carbon dioxide," said Ken Davis, professor of meteorology at Penn State and principal investigator. "Ecosystem fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane are large forces in the climate system. Currently, ecosystems are sequestering carbon dioxide and offsetting fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide. This is a huge benefit, but we aren’t able to predict the future course of this sink."
The five-year mission will include measurements of three study regions during all four seasons, sampling high- and low-pressure weather systems. The study region will cover the northeast, upper Midwest and Gulf coast states.
Learn more about the other Earth Venture suborbital projects selected here.