Japan has brought new hi-tech skills to the fight against global warming, with a mission to monitor greenhouse gases from space. The H-2A rocket, carrying a satellite nicknamed “Ibuki,” or “Vitality,” took off from Tanegashima island south of Tokyo, after a two-day delay for bad weather. Mission control said the everything appeared to be going well.
“There are currently about 280 monitoring stations on the ground which record the levels of greenhouse gases,” said project manager Takashi Hamazaki. “Most, though, are located in Japan, Europe and the United States, so there are many parts of the world with no coverage at all.” Ibuki will massively improve on that, by collecting information all over the globe. Its instruments will measure carbon dioxide and methane build-up at 56,000 locations around the earth, including in the middle of the oceans. Ibuki starts work as world leaders try to agree a new climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out this year.