Journal Highlights

Satellite Quantifies Carbon Dioxide from Coal-Fired Power Plants


Using data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 satellite, researchers measured emissions of the greenhouse gas from individual coal plants in the United States, India, and South Africa.

Despite the increasing popularity of renewable energies like wind and solar power, countries around the world continue to build power plants fueled by coal. Now, researchers have analyzed satellite observations of plants in three countries to test whether the space-based measurements can accurately reveal how much carbon dioxide (CO2) such plants emit.

The scientists found that their measurements were consistent to within 17% of reported values, although the satellite they used was not designed for this sort of reconnaissance. NASA built the satellite, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), to quantify naturally occurring CO2 over large spatial scales, said Ray Nassar, an atmospheric scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada in Toronto and leader of the team that analyzed the data....more

-- Katherine Kornei, Freelance Science Journalist,


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Featured Special Collection

A Census of Atmospheric Variability from Seconds to Decades 

The atmosphere varies naturally on all length scales from millimeters to thousands of kilometers, and on all time scales from seconds to decades and longer.  This special collection of Geophysical Research Letters synthesizes and summarizes that variability through a phenomenological census.  The collection brings together some of the most influential and definitive papers to have been published in this journal in recent years.  The topics covered include turbulence on time scales of seconds and minutes, gravity waves on time scales of hours, weather systems on time scales of days, atmospheric blocking on time scales of weeks, the Madden–Julian Oscillation on time scales of months, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation on time scales of years, and the North Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific Decadal, and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillations on time scales of decades.  The collection is accompanied by a Commentary article, which provides an authoritative, concise, and accessible point of reference for the most important modes of atmospheric variability.

A Census of Atmospheric Variability from Seconds to Decades