The CHRONOS mission: capability for sub-hourly synoptic observations of carbon monoxide and methane to quantify emissions and transport of air pollution
Abstract. The CHRONOS space mission concept provides time-resolved abundance for emissions and transport studies of the highly variable and highly uncertain air pollutants carbon monoxide and methane, with sub-hourly revisit rate at fine (∼ 4 km) horizontal spatial resolution across a North American domain. CHRONOS can provide complete synoptic air pollution maps (
snapshots) of the continental domain with less than 10 min of observations. This rapid mapping enables visualization of air pollution transport simultaneously across the entire continent and enables a sentinel-like capability for monitoring evolving, or unanticipated, air pollution sources in multiple locations at the same time with high temporal resolution. CHRONOS uses a compact imaging gas filter correlation radiometer for these observations, with heritage from more than 17 years of scientific data and algorithm advances by the science teams for the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft in low Earth orbit. To achieve continental-scale sub-hourly sampling, the CHRONOS mission would be conducted from geostationary orbit, with the instrument hosted on a communications or meteorological platform. CHRONOS observations would contribute to an integrated observing system for atmospheric composition using surface, suborbital and satellite data with atmospheric chemistry models, as defined by the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites. Addressing the U.S. National Academy's 2007 decadal survey direction to characterize diurnal changes in tropospheric composition, CHRONOS observations would find direct societal applications for air quality management and forecasting to protect public health.