European Space Agency plans biomass satellite

By Anna Simet | May 09, 2013

The European Space Association announced it will begin monitoring the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests via satellite.

Little is known about those topics, especially in the tropics, according to the ESA. The agency believes obtaining that knowledge is essential in understanding the role of forests in the Earth’s carbon cycle and in climate change.

Among several objectives, ESA intends to use the satellite project as an eventual way to provide long-term monitoring of and quantification Earth’s forests.

The effort will support the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation initiative, an international effort to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and land degradation in developing countries.

The selection of the biomass satellite was based on the Earth Science Advisory Committee’s recommendation following a scientific peer review at the Earth Explorer 7 User Consultation Meeting held in Graz, Austria in March, according to ESA.

The launch of the mission is foreseen for 2020.