NASA will be shutting down its Carbon Monitoring System which kept tracks of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Experts say that this move can make it harder to measure emissions in the atmosphere. ( Mark Wilson | Getty Images )
The Trump administration has killed NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, which was responsible for compiling data from separate satellite and aircraft measurements of CO2 and methane emission across the Earth.
This program allowed scientists to have a picture of the flow of carbon all over Earth.
Carbon Monitoring System
The Trump administration’s move to shut down the Carbon Monitoring System was first reported by Science. This move will make it harder for nations to be able to verify that quotas are being met according to the promises in the Paris climate accords. Every nation on Earth, except the US, is part of the accord.
Kelly Sims Gallagher, Director of Tufts University’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, told Science that if emissions aren’t being measured, countries will not know who is keeping their promises according to the Paris climate accords.
A spokesperson for NASA told Science that existing grants like the Carbon Monitoring System will be allowed to finish but that no new research will be taking its place. NASA cited budget constraints and other research that is marked a higher priority as the reason for the cancellation. No specific reasons were given for the shutdown of the program.
The Trump administration has been proposing budget cuts to NASA’s earth science programs which focus on climate change. The last Congressional budget didn’t have the Carbon Monitoring System included which showed what was going to happen to the program.
Climate Change Records
It’s an ironic time for the Carbon Monitoring System to be killed off from NASA. Earlier in May, data showed that carbon dioxide found in Earth’s atmosphere passed a new monthly average of 410.31 parts per million in the month of April. These findings were found by the Scripps CO2 Program.
Measurements were taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This was the first time that the monthly average exceeded the threshold of 410 parts per million, It was also the first time that there was a 30 percent increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the world.
For centuries the world’s concentration of carbon dioxide fluctuated between 200 ppm and 280 ppm. Levels skyrocketed after the industrial revolution showing human activity is what is driving the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Data has also been gathered from ice cores that contain ancient air bubbles. These air bubbles show the CO2 levels from the last 800,000 years. The ice cores show that the CO2 level has always fluctuated but was never higher than 300 ppm before the industrial revolution