Forests across the world act as a major and dynamic store of carbon. This store can decrease in size through processes such as deforestation and wildfires but also increase as the trees they contain absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.
Professor Shaun Quegan of the University of Sheffield is a leading climate scientist working with ESA as mission scientist for ESA's forthcoming Biomass mission and lead scientist on the ESA Climate Change Initiative's Biomass project. The latter is developing robust global data records of global to estimate the amount and distribution of carbon-rich biomass in Earth's forests, while the mission aims to provide new, richer information to extend the record into the future.
Shaun discusses how satellite observations and ESA’s Climate Change Initiative are key to assessing global forest biomass. These data will help inform carbon cycle models and act as input to the Global Stocktake - a process of five-yearly checks to monitor collective progress on actions that towards the Paris Agreement warming goals.