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Quick Facts

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) is flying on the International Space Station (ISS) and will continue the important measurement begun by OCO-2 in 2014. Some quick facts about OCO-3 are:

  • OCO-3 is a critical element in the continuation of global carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements focused on understanding the regional sources and sinks of CO2 from the unique vantage point of the International Space Station (ISS).
  • OCO-3 can also contribute to focused studies of how space based measurements can constrain rapidly changing anthropogenic (man-made) emissions. Anthropogenic emissions could be the largest source of uncertainty in the global carbon budget as OCO-3 measurements reduce uncertainty of natural fluxes. OCO-3 has the ability to makes measurements at different times of the day.
  • OCO-3 measurements can be combined with evapotranspiration and biomass measurements, such as those from other ISS instruments ECOSTRESS and GEDI, to study process details of the terrestrial ecosystem.
  • OCO-2 has demonstrated that atmospheric XCO2 can be measured from space with precision of better than 1 ppm. OCO-3 is expected to have similar performance.

To learn more about OCO-3, please check out the OCO-3 Fact Sheet.

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