News / Science & Technology

Citizen Scientists Map Global Emissions

Each red dot on this screen shot from the Ventus website  represents a power plant.  (Ventus Project)
Each red dot on this screen shot from the Ventus website represents a power plant. (Ventus Project)
Rosanne Skirble
Arizona State University atmospheric scientist Kevin Gurney is mapping carbon dioxide emissions for the entire planet and he wants you to help.  

Data is sketchy

Power plants account for more than 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. Gurney wants more information on the 25,000 plants around the world. 
 
He says good data exists for the United States, Canada, India and the European Union, but estimates for the rest of the world are sketchy. “In fact, it’s so inaccurate that it is really insufficient for the type of science that we’re trying to do,” he said.  

Gurney studies how carbon dioxide moves around the earth and affects global climate change.

Locate your power plant

His project is called Ventus, which is Latin for ‘wind.’ He has set up a website where you can zoom in and drop a virtual pin on the power plant map that shows your location. Your job then is to provide an accurate address and other details about the plant.

Citizen Scientists Map Global Emissions
Citizen Scientists Map Global Emissionsi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

“We just need the amount of electricity generated at a power plant,” Gurney explains. “We also need to know the primary fuel. And with those two things we can actually create a better estimate of CO2 emissions than we do right now.”  

CO2 emissions map

Internal checks are built into the Ventus system to monitor the accuracy and consistency of information. Gurney says the uploaded data will be included in a virtual map of CO2 emissions in 10-kilometer squares across the planet.

“We will produce the emissions on a map, every hour, every year, he notes. “We will use that within models of climate change to more accurately characterize emissions, greenhouse gas concentration and the projections of those concentrations into the future.”  

The first version of the map will go online within the next several months and will be updated as information is received. Gurney hopes it will help to better inform policy makers and the public.

He also expects citizens engaged with the project to become advocates of change. 

“I think that the power of bringing that information to the scale at which people live, allowing them to see it on a map, contribute information about this real physical thing that is around them, tends to lessen the abstraction of this problem. It makes it more real.”

Become the Supreme Power Plant Emissions Guru

Gurney says that connection makes it easier to take action.

Gurney encourages people to register on the Ventus website. The citizen scientist who provides the most usable information will be named Supreme Power Plant Emissions Guru, an honor which comes with a trophy and listing as a co-author on a scientific paper about the project.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rano baggy from: indonesia
May 17, 2013 10:32 AM
it good project, we hope this maps can stress industrial and governments to reduce pollution also the peoples around this factory can control or refused or relocated this factory or plant when indicated to make pollution.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid