It seems that every time somebody says, greenhouse gases, or climate change, the argument starts again. Here’s something that may help. Today, on Engineering Works!
Depending on your politics, greenhouse gases could be fighting words. But some engineers are gearing up for a five-year effort to find out more about just how much people have to do with the problem.
They’ve come up with what they think will be a practical way to measure how much carbon dioxide, or CO2, people are actually putting into the air. CO2 is a major contributor to climate change.
Most measurements of CO2 in the air are estimates, based on how much fossil fuel is burned, how many trees are cut down, how much landfills grow. Stuff like that.
The new measuring effort will use a network of a-hundred sensors, called cavity ring-down spectroscopes to measure how much CO2 is actually in the air. The sensors are pretty cool, and pretty simple for what they measure. They bounce lasers off mirrors in a cavity that collects air from the atmosphere. Then they compare the light’s speed and how it moves with lasers bouncing around in empty cavities. The difference tells them about gases in the test cavity.
Fifty of the sensors will be located in the United States and 50 in other places around the world.
We’ve put our share of gas into the air for today, so we’re going home. See you next time.
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Start the discussion: One of the best ways to settle arguments is to get real information, not just estimates. Maybe this will help settle the greenhouse gas argument. What do you think?