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NASA model to help assess change in carbon concentrations from forests

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  • Categories
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    6th Feb, 2021


  • A group of researchers has created a new way to assess how the changes in forests over the past two decades impacted carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

About the model

  • The new method helps to understand the role of various forest types in the global carbon cycle.
  • The method tapped into numerous sources, including ground, airborne, and satellite data.
  • Components: It uses
  • Satellite and field data to improve estimates of vegetation and carbon stocks
  • NASA’s ICESat-2
  • Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), a laser-equipped instrument aboard the International Space Station that records the three-dimensional structures of the world’s temperate and tropical forests

Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI)

  • Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is a NASA mission to measure how deforestation has contributed to atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
  • The GEDI instrument is a geodetic-class, light detection and ranging (Lidar) laser system consisting of three lasers.
  • The GEDI instrumentation is designed to collect data, from approximately four percent of the earth's surface, including both tropical and temperate forests.
  • GEDI was selected as a NASA Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) mission in 2014.


  • ICESat-2, abbreviated for Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite.
  • It was launched in 2018.
  • It uses lasers and a very precise detection instrument to measure the elevation of the Earth's surface.

Significance of the model

  • It will create the first consistent global framework for estimating the carbon flux specifically for forests.
  • The new method will help arrive at better data sets.
  • The new approach also helped identify the forest types that have higher uncertainties.
  • The framework could help countries reduce carbon emissions for which accurate and current data is needed.

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