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The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission

Crisp, D. and Randerson, J. T. and Wennberg, P. O. and Yung, Y. L. and Kuang, Z. (2004) The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission. Advances in Space Research, 34 (4). pp. 700-709. ISSN 0273-1177. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2003.08.062.

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The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission will make the first global, space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO_2) with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize CO_2 sources and sinks on regional scales. The measurement approach and instrument specifications were determined through an analysis of existing carbon cycle data and a series of observing system simulation experiments. During its 2-year mission, OCO will fly in a 1:15 PM sun-synchronous orbit with a 16-day ground-track repeat time, just ahead of the EOS Aqua platform. It will carry a single instrument that incorporates three bore-sighted high-resolution spectrometers designed to measure reflected sunlight in the 0.76-μm O_2 A-band and in the CO_2 bands at 1.61 and 2.06 μm. Soundings recorded in these three bands will be used to retrieve the column-averaged CO_2 dry air mole fraction (X_(CO)_2). A comprehensive validation program was included in the mission to ensure that the space-based X_(CO)_2 measurements have precisions of ∼0.3% (1 ppm) on regional scales. OCO measurements will be used in global synthesis inversion and data assimilation models to quantify CO_2 sources and sinks. While OCO will have a nominal lifetime of only 2 years, it will serve as a pathfinder for future long-term CO_2 monitoring missions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Crisp, D.0000-0002-4573-9998
Randerson, J. T.0000-0001-6559-7387
Wennberg, P. O.0000-0002-6126-3854
Yung, Y. L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2004 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Received 19 October 2002; received in revised form 5 April 2003; accepted 5 August 2003. Part of this work was performed for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology under contract to NASA. Significant contributions were made by Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation (a United Technologies Company) and Orbital Sciences Corporation.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Hamilton Sundstrand CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Orbital Sciences CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Orbiting carbon observatory; Atmospheric carbon dioxide
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140701-093514734
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:D Crisp, R.M Atlas, F.-M Breon, L.R Brown, J.P Burrows, P Ciais, B.J Connor, S.C Doney, I.Y Fung, D.J Jacob, C.E Miller, D O'Brien, S Pawson, J.T Randerson, P Rayner, R.J Salawitch, S.P Sander, B Sen, G.L Stephens, P.P Tans, G.C Toon, P.O Wennberg, S.C Wofsy, Y.L Yung, Z Kuang, B Chudasama, G Sprague, B Weiss, R Pollock, D Kenyon, S Schroll, The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission, Advances in Space Research, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2004, Pages 700-709, ISSN 0273-1177, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46592
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:01 Jul 2014 18:01
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:27

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