Environmental insights from the GHOST in the machine

An instrument co-designed by University of Leicester scientists has spent the past year successfully gathering data on how greenhouse gases are transported around the world and where they are being emitted and absorbed.

Dr Hartmut Bösch from our Department of Physics and Astronomy has written an opinion piece with his collaborator Professor Paul Palmer for the Natural Environment Research Council about GHOST (Greenhouse Observations of the Stratosphere and Troposphere), developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, in a joint effort with the Universities of Edinburgh and Leicester.

Dr Bösch and Professor Palmer talk us through some of details of GHOST’s construction and the challenges a project like this faced, as well as some of the valuable scientific insights that it is delivering.

First installed on NASA's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, GHOST behaves like a sub-orbital satellite instrument, measuring greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane across large regions but in fine detail. This will allow scientists to produce precise maps of where greenhouse gases are being released and taken up at the Earth’s surface – vital information for international climate negotiations.