Astrium to measure greenhouse gas emissions across Paris

15 February 2013

  • Astrium Services is a partner in CarboCountCity, an EIT/Climate KIC* project to measure greenhouse gas emissions
  • CarboCountCity will be launched in Paris to provide a more reliable assessment of greenhouse gas levels
  • Astrium Services conducted similar tests using the same technology in London in summer 2012

Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company, will contribute to the development and demonstration of a service capable of measuring citywide emissions of greenhouse gases (methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) as part of the CarboCountCity[1] contract signed with Climate-KIC, worth €4 million. The first measurements will be taken in Paris over a three-year period. The project is closely linked with the greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring service under development by Astrium Services.

CarboCountCity is one of the very first projects to measure urban GHG emissions directly. These measurements will be used to create highly accurate emissions maps for city councils and local authorities. These bodies will then be able to publish emissions reports such as those required by European legislation at a national level and, above all, assess the effectiveness of their emission reduction policies. Up to now, cities and local authorities have had access only to statistical assessments of GHG concentrations.

In measuring GHG levels in the Paris region, Astrium Services and its project partners will collate data from a network of sensors on the ground and from aerial campaigns. The measurements will then be assimilated with an atmospheric model to create emissions maps detailing the main sources and carbon sinks, with a resolution of approximately one kilometre.

The first citywide GHG measurement demonstrator was trialled by Astrium Services in London in summer 2012 and resulted in the company successfully creating emission maps, based on data from satellites, aerial measurements and from four ground sensors positioned around the city. Experience gained by Astrium Services in carrying out this trial will be applied to the service in Paris.

Cities are the largest sources of CO2 emissions**. By collating the existing data and combining it with data from satellites, new ground sensors and aerial campaigns, CarboCountCity will be able to accurately monitor urban GHG emissions, and this in turn will lead to more effective emission-reduction policies.

As a leading satellite system specialist, Astrium has extensive expertise and operational mission experience in the field of environmental and climate satellites. Astrium is the prime contractor for Europe’s largest environmental satellite, Envisat, as well as for Cryosat-2 (ice mass detection), Aeolus (the first mission to measure wind profiles on a global scale) and EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer). Astrium also played a major role in designing the SMOS mission (moisture and salinity observation) and has designed and produced a full range of state-of-the-art meteorological satellites (Metop A, B and C) and payloads (Seviri instrument for Meteosat Second Generation…).

In addition, Astrium is studying MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission) the MicroCarb mission for CNES, French space agency, and the CarbonSat mission, vying to be the eighth Earth Explorer mission of European Space Agency’s Earth observation programme, with the aim to assess CO2 fluxes between carbon sources and sinks and improve our knowledge of carbon sinks. Data collected by these three systems should enhance the CarboCountCity or other GHG monitoring systems. These spacecraft, instruments and systems contribute to creating a sustainable society.

Also participating in CarboCountCity are Aria Technologies, the Laboratoire des Sciences du climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE) a joint research unit of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), the University of Versailles St Quentin en Yvelines and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), and Picarro. Playing a key role in the team, Astrium Services will be responsible for defining the GHG service specifications, implementing a business plan for the marketing of this GHG measurement tool and disseminating its results to the worldwide community.

For more information on Astrium’s project to measure greenhouse gas emissions, go to:


About Astrium

Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Astrium had a turnover close to €5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

Astrium is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.

Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment; Astrium Services for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.

[1] CarboCountCity is a project lead by Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community), a foundation with funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Commission.

(**) According to the World Bank report “Cities and Climate Change: an urgent agenda” (2010), cities contribute to emit roughly 80% of global GHG emissions (cf. page 15)

Press contacts:

Jeremy Close
Media Relations UK
Astrium United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy
Astrium France
Media Relations France
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich
Media Relations Germany
Airbus Defence and Space Germany
Tel.: +49 89 60 73 39 71
Fax: +49 89 60 78 53 39
Francisco Lechon
Media Relations Spain
Airbus Defence and Space Spain
Tel.: +34 91 5 86 37 41
Fax: +34 91 5 86 37 82


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