“As we try to mitigate the effects of climate change, it’s really important that we clearly understand where the carbon that we are emitting goes, and that requires us to accurately quantify the global carbon cycle.”
Tamlin Pavelsky, associate professor of global hydrology in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences, and a team of researchers found that the surface area of rivers and streams across the globe is about 45 percent greater than previous studies found. That information means that scientists can better assess how much carbon dioxide moves from rivers and streams into the atmosphere each year.
NASA will use this data to identify river segments during its Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission, which launches in 2021. The mission will be NASA’s first satellite mission specifically focused on measuring rivers and lakes.
This is story number 115 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.