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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid