An H-2A rocket No. 15 (H-2A F15) carrying Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), known as “Ibuki” in Japan, blasts off from the southern island of Tanegashima January 23, 2009.
Japan launched a satellite on Friday to monitor greenhouse gases around the world in the hope that the data it gathers will help global efforts to combat climate change.
The satellite, called “Ibuki” or “vitality” in Japanese, will enable scientists to measure densities of carbon dioxide and methane from 56,000 locations on the Earth’s surface, including the atmosphere over open seas.
That would compare with just 282 land-based observation sites as of last October, mostly of which are in the United States, Europe and other industrialized regions, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has said.
Japanese officials hope the data will add credence to existing research on greenhouse gases, including reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of hundreds of scientists.