In DepthRemote Sensing

Carbon-mapping satellite will monitor plants' faint glow

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Science  13 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6189, pp. 1211-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1211

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With the launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 on 1 July, scientists are not just going to get their best tool for mapping carbon sources and sinks. They are also going to get the most precise maps yet of chlorophyll fluorescence—a faint glow of light re-emitted by the plant during photosynthesis. The fluorescence—a much more direct measure for carbon uptake than proxies such as greenness or leaf area—promises to transform scientists' understanding of how ecosystems will behave under the stresses of climate change.