Science News

Japan Airlines Aims To Cut Soaring Carbon Dioxide Levels

Sun, 20th Nov 2005

Part of the show Genetics, DNA Extraction and the Human Genome Project

A joint initiative between the Japanese government and Japan Airlines recently got off to a flying start with the launch of the first commercial aeroplane equipped to provide real-time measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases along its flight path. The project, which will eventually see five planes monitoring the atmosphere along their routes between Tokyo and Australia, Asia and Europe, aims to provide valuable environmental data, at low cost, to help scientists build up a clearer picture of carbon dioxide emissions over Asia. The planes collect air samples from the front of the plane (to avoid sucking in their own exhaust) and use light to determine the composition of the gases they collect. Signficantly, this project, which builds on an earlier initiative, will provide the first clear picture, in three dimensions, of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over a large area. Until now such measurements were not feasible, nor viable, to make on earth or from space.

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