The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-7/W3
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 165–172, 2015
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 165–172, 2015

  28 Apr 2015

28 Apr 2015

The greenhouse gas project of ESA’s climate change initiative (GHG-CCI): overview, achievements and future plans

M. Buchwitz1, M. Reuter1, O. Schneising1, H. Boesch2, I. Aben3, M. Alexe4, R. Armante5, P. Bergamaschi4, H. Bovensmann1, D. Brunner6, B. Buchmann6, J. P. Burrows1, A. Butz7, F. Chevallier8, A. Chédin5, C. D. Crevoisier5, S. Gonzi9, M. De Mazière10, E. De Wachter10, R. Detmers3, B. Dils10, C. Frankenberg11, P. Hahne7, O. P. Hasekamp3, W. Hewson2, J. Heymann1, S. Houweling3, M. Hilker1, T. Kaminski12, G. Kuhlmann6, A. Laeng7, T. T. v. Leeuwen3, G. Lichtenberg13, J. Marshall14, S. Noël1, J. Notholt1, P. Palmer9, R. Parker2, M. Scholze15, G. P. Stiller7, T. Warneke1, and C. Zehner16 M. Buchwitz et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
  • 3SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 4European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC), Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Air and Climate Unit, Ispra, Italy
  • 5Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD), Palaiseau, France
  • 6Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 7Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 8Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 9University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 10Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA), Brussels, Belgium
  • 11Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California, USA
  • 12The Inversion Lab, Hamburg, Germany
  • 13Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 14Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC), Jena, Germany
  • 15Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 16European Space Agency (ESA), ESRIN, Frascati, Italy

Keywords: Climate change, carbon cycle, greenhouse gases, emissions, satellites, remote sensing, SCIAMACHY, GOSAT

Abstract. The GHG-CCI project ( is one of several projects of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI). The goal of the CCI is to generate and deliver data sets of various satellite-derived Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) in line with GCOS (Global Climate Observing System) requirements. The “ECV Greenhouse Gases” (ECV GHG) is the global distribution of important climate relevant gases – namely atmospheric CO2 and CH4 - with a quality sufficient to obtain information on regional CO2 and CH4 sources and sinks. The main goal of GHG-CCI is to generate long-term highly accurate and precise time series of global near-surface-sensitive satellite observations of CO2 and CH4, i.e., XCO2 and XCH4, starting with the launch of ESA’s ENVISAT satellite. These products are currently retrieved from SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT (2002-2012) and TANSO-FTS/GOSAT (2009-today) nadir mode observations in the near-infrared/shortwave-infrared spectral region. In addition, other sensors (e.g., IASI and MIPAS) and viewing modes (e.g., SCIAMACHY solar occultation) are also considered and in the future also data from other satellites. The GHG-CCI data products and related documentation are freely available via the GHG-CCI website and yearly updates are foreseen. Here we present an overview about the latest data set (Climate Research Data Package No. 2 (CRDP#2)) and summarize key findings from using satellite CO2 and CH4 retrievals to improve our understanding of the natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks of these important atmospheric greenhouse gases. We also shortly mention ongoing activities related to validation and initial user assessment of CRDP#2 and future plans.