UK Space Agency invests £9m to monitor climate change

The UK Space Agency has announced £9 million in funding for satellite instruments to monitor climate, its largest investment into an early-stage technology programme.

The investment will support 12 projects delivered by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere and taking measurements of critical emissions including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide.

The funding is double the previous largest funding round for the programme and will be topped up by an additional £2 million from the academic and private sectors.

It is hoped that the instruments that being developed could help to identify the location of activities or incidents where high levels of emissions are being produced, such as wildfires or inefficient farming, that could then be dealt with more effectively.

Nicolas Leveque, director of the CEOI, said: “This additional funding from the UK Space Agency demonstrates its continued support for the development of high-end remote-sensing technologies.”

“These technologies will fill many gaps in our observing capabilities and help better understand some of the more complex processes driving the Earth’s climate and environment. This funding round will act as an accelerator, bringing the launch of new instruments forward by several years.” 

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Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said the investment would play a part in efforts to tackle climate change, by “pinpointing where emissions are highest on our planet and cementing UK leadership in Earth observation, while helping to attract more private investment into this fast-growing sector.”

Beth Greenaway, head of earth observation and climate at the UK Space Agency, said: “The 16th CEOI call shows that we are ready to match the commitment of the UK space sector to ensuring the Earth observation capabilities stay at the forefront of the global demand.”

Earlier this year the UK Space Agency announced an investment of £1.5 million into refuelling satellites in space in an effort to extend their life and reduce the amount of space debris, with around 37,000 pieces of more than 10cm in size currently in orbit.

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