What is it?

LOGOFLUX (1st & 2nd project) was an ESA contract study from 2012 to 2014 and with the main objective of evaluating the green-house gas (GHG) surface flux estimate capabilities from the CarbonSat mission. The consortium was led by NOVELTIS (management) and Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement – LSCE (Scientific Principal Investigator) and included University of Bremen (IUP-UB) and Netherlands for space research (SRON).

The context

CarbonSat was selected by ESA as a candidate for the 8 Earth Explorer Opportunity (EE8). The mission concept and instrument characteristics are imagined for measuring the greenhouse gases CH4 – Methane and CO2 – Carbon dioxode in the Earth’s atmosphere. The innovative aspect of this prototype instrument was its design of high spatial resolution mapping capability for the quantification of emission hotspots, such as mega-cities, major industrial centres, and large power plants. The existing generation of lower resolution satellite instruments can only be used to quantify greenhouse gas emissions up to the sub continental scale. For the conventional (low resolution) emission estimation the use of high-resolution measurements has important advantages also. The high-resolution increases the fraction of cloud free measurements to be obtained. In combination with the large swath, significant improvements in measurement coverage are expected in regions where broken cloud fields are common, such as in the tropics.

Main objectives

The main objective of this study was to estimate the performance of the ESA opportunity explorer mission CarbonSat.

As part of the preparation for the mission, two scientific studies have been funded by ESA; the first one (Buchwitz et al.) analysed the performance of the mission in terms of CO2 – Carbon dioxode and CH4 – Methane columns. The other one, LOGOFLUX, analysed the performances in terms of surface fluxes. The imaging capabilities of the instrument make it possible to identify concentration plumes downwind of large emission sources such as cities or fossil-fuel power plants. The concentration gradient is directly related to the emission intensity so that the source intensity may be estimated through inverse transport modelling. There are however several source of uncertainties that were evaluated through the LOGOFLUX study. 1) Atmospheric transport and in particular the wind speed, 2) Measurement error and biases, 3) Inhomogeneous spatial and temporal distribution of the sources, 4) Impact of sources and sinks outside of the observation domain, 5) Vertical distribution of the concentration plume.

Main achievements

As part of LOGOFLUX, several tools have been developed to invert emission factors based on the column concentration measurements. A simple tool is a plume shape model that requires limited information about the atmospheric transport. Another type of tool uses a full description of the atmospheric transport and permits the estimation of the spatial and temporal structure of the source. These tools have been applied on simulated observations of the Paris and Berlin area, as well as an hypothetical power plant.

Group members

  • NOVELTIS (France): Dr. Andrzej KloneckiJulien Chimot  (project managers for LOGOFLUX 2, and 1 respectively), Dr. Jean-Francois Vinuesa, Dr. Pascal Prunet, Dr. Claude Camy-Peyret
  • LSCE (France): Dr. Francois-Marie Breon (Scientific Principal Investigator), Dr. Frederic Chevallier, Dr. Emmanuel Renault, Dr. Gregoire Broquet, Dr. Philippe Ciais
  • IUP-UB (Germany): Dr. Michael Buchwitz, Dr. Heinrich Bovensmann, Dr. Maximilien Reuter, Dr. Dhanyalekshmi Pillai
  • SRON (the Netherlands): Dr. Sander Houwelling, Dr. Sourish Basu
  • Empa (Switzerland): Dr. Dominik Brunner
  • MPI (Germany): Dr. Julia Marshall
  • JRC (European Commission): Dr. Peter Bergamaschi
  • ESA / ESTEC (the Netherland): Dr. Yasjka Meijer, Paul Ingmann, Armin Loescher

More information?

  • Cited in the following report: ESA, CarbonSat – Report for mission selection – An Earth Explorer to observe greenhouse gases, 2015, here
  • Presentation at ESA Living Planet 2016 by IUP-UB here
  • Research CarbonSat performance simulation here
  • Regional atmospheric inversion of CO2 and other GHG fluxes using CHIMERE here
  • More information on CH4 – Methane here
  • More information on CO2- Carbon dioxide here