In addition to using Sentinel-5P to monitor air pollution, the mission also has an important role to play in improving our knowledge of important atmospheric processes linked to our climate.
Carbon dioxide may be the first gas that comes to mind when considering emissions causing climate change, but Sentinel-5P does not measure this particular gas; an instrument with different specifications would be needed to do this.
However, the Tropomi multispectral imaging spectrometer does measure other greenhouse gases such as methane.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, trapping about 30 times more heat per mass unit than carbon dioxide. Methane can enter the air from the fossil fuel industry, landfill sites, livestock farming and rice agriculture, and as a result of thawing permafrost.
Sentinel-5P will also measure aerosols and clouds, which affect Earth’s radiation balance.
All these measurements will contribute to furthering our understanding of chemical processes occurring in the atmosphere and how they are linked to our climate – and ultimately help adopt appropriate strategies to fight climate change.