The abundance of the hydroxyl radical, OH, determines the lifetime of methane and its global warming potential. Despite the growing importance of methane and the need to quantify its removal rate from the atmosphere, there is currently no technique that can measure the column of OH from space. We propose to design, build and demonstrate the capability to measure the OH column using a new OH solar radiometer.
Our objective is to demonstrate the capability to detect the column of OH with solar absorption. The project will design and test an OH detector using an existing sun tracker.More »
Reaction with OH is the primary sink of atmospheric methane. Because of the growing importance of methane emissions, we have a growing need to better understand OH at the regional to global scale. Methane is removed by the reaction with OH, primarily below 200 hPa and primarily in the tropics via the reaction: CH4 + OH -> CH3 + H2O. It is this removal process that determines the lifetime of methane in the atmosphere and its global warming potential (GWP). Methane is about 100 times more active as a greenhouse gas than CO2. However, since methane has only a 10 year lifetime in the atmosphere due to R1, the GWP for a molecule of methane is only 28 - 36 times that of CO2 over a 100 year period. Our ability to estimate the GWP of methane and its impact on the present and future climate depends critically on our ability to measure and predict OH.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, MD|