News / Science & Technology

New Ways of Tracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions Developed

Los Angeles Participates in Innovative Climate Change Experimenti
X
July 05, 2013 1:56 AM
For decades, scientists have been able to measure air quality and look at its impact on human health. Now, scientists are testing new ways of measuring climate-changing greenhouse gases in the air. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles, one of the cities that is participating in a new effort called the Megacities Carbon Project.
Elizabeth Lee

For decades, scientists have been able to measure air quality and look at its impact on human health. Now, scientists are testing new ways of measuring those climate changing greenhouse gases in the air.

One of the places that is participating in a new effort called the Megacities Carbon Project.
 

With more than 18 million people living, working and driving in Los Angeles, the city often is covered in a hazy layer of smog. Stan Sander, senior research scientist at the U.S. space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory near LA, describes this layer of visible air.
 

"That haze is caused by the fact that the air is trapped inside a layer that’s a few hundred meters to a thousand meters in altitude above the LA basin. So it collects those emissions from the cars and other sources and forms that layer," said Sander.
 

Jet Propulsion Lab scientist Riley Duren says these pollutants include greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and they do not just hang over the city.
 

"So these gases have a small local effect but the bigger impact is on the climate. We’re all in this together. It takes several weeks or months for these gases to mix, but they end up in the atmosphere and they affect everywhere - not just in the local city," said Duren.
 

Los Angeles is part of a complicated experiment called the Megacities Carbon Project. The goal is to monitor greenhouse gases and look for long-term trends to see if environmental policies to lower these pollutants actually work.
 

Sixteen highly sensitive monitoring devices are being installed throughout southern California on rooftops and media towers. These instruments work continuously to analyze what is in the air.
 

Scientists also use what is called "remote sensing" to monitor the air. Instruments placed on airplanes and a satellite look at sunlight bouncing off the surface of the earth. By looking at how the air changes the quality of that light, scientists can "see" the fingerprints of carbon dioxide and methane in the air.
 

There is one more remote sensing instrument on top of historic Mt. Wilson northeast of Los Angeles. NASA’S Stan Sander says this remote sensing equipment looks down throughout the LA Basin and analyzes the air.
 

"What we’re hoping to do here on Mt. Wilson is create a sort of pattern or model for the way other cities might be able to measure their greenhouse gas emissions in a very similar way," he said.
 

Riley Duren says that while developed countries are trying to reduce emissions...

"In the developing world, particularly in South America, Africa and Asia, we’re seeing explosive growth in cities because of the combined effects of urbanization and economic growth," he said.
 

He says many of these growing cities are at higher risk for the impact of climate change.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs