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Data Drought in the Humid Tropics: How to Overcome the Cloud Barrier in Greenhouse Gas Remote Sensing
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  • Christian Frankenberg,
  • Yinon Moise Bar-On,
  • Yi Yin,
  • Paul O. Wenberg,
  • Daniel J. Jacob,
  • Anna M Michalak
Christian Frankenberg
California Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yinon Moise Bar-On
California Institute of Technology
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Paul O. Wenberg
California Institute of Technology
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Daniel J. Jacob
Harvard University
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Anna M Michalak
Carnegie Institution for Science
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Diagnosing land-atmosphere fluxes of carbon-dioxide (CO$_2$) and methane (CH$_4$), is essential for evaluating carbon-climate feedbacks. Greenhouse gas satellite missions aim to fill data gaps in regions like the humid tropics, but obtain very few valid measurements due to cloud contamination. We examined data yields from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory alongside Sentinel 2 cloud statistics. We find that the main contribution to low data yields are frequent shallow cumulus clouds. In the Amazon, the success rate in obtaining valid measurements vary from 0.1\% to 1.0\%. By far the lowest yields occur in the wet season, consistent with Sentinel 2 cloud patterns. We find that increasing the spatial resolution of observations to $\sim$200\,m would increase yields by 2-3 orders of magnitude, and allow regular measurements in the wet season. Thus, the key effective tropical greenhouse gas observations lies in regularly acquiring high-spatial resolution data, rather than more frequent low-resolution measurements.
20 Feb 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
29 Feb 2024Published in ESS Open Archive