Launched October 13 a new satellite Sentinel-5P will track gradual changes in the makeup of the atmosphere, measuring changes in the concentrations of ozone, NO2, SO2, formaldehyde, aerosols, carbon monoxide, and methane. Orbiting at an altitude of 824 km it will map the concentrations of these trace gases over the entire planet every day. The sensor on the satellite will capture ultraviolet, visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared emissions to identify the unique spectra signatures of these trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Sentinel-5P is the first in a series of atmospheric chemistry missions from the European Commission’s Copernicus program. It will augment the data captured by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite launched in 2011 and the NASA Aura satellite launched in 2004. It will be succeeded by Sentinel-5 scheduled to be launched in 2020.