92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 11:00 AM
Creating a Clearer Picture: The Value of Continuous Measurements in Environmental Observing Networks
Room 239 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Amena Ali, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD; and E. Novakovskaia and W. Callahan

Whether examining the near term impacts of anthropogenic activities or analyzing a variety of projected scenarios on a multi-year climate horizon, current and historical environmental observations form the foundation of objective judgment and necessary action. Robust and comprehensive measurements are critical to ensuring sound science and policy making. In recent years, for example, dense, real-time continuously monitoring surface weather observing networks have equipped scientists and decision support personnel with the necessary tools and insight into the evolution of potentially destructive severe weather events. This has resulted in faster alerting systems for better protection of lives and property.

Similarly, scientists evaluating overall climate trends, where components are interconnected with great complexity, will benefit from utilizing environmental observing networks that monitor multi-scale geophysical systems providing datasets with high temporal and spatial resolution. GHG observing networks, such as the one that Earth Networks is deploying and operating will provide in situ measurements of CO2, CH4, and water vapor using high precision instruments to support MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) as well as inverse modeling studies. This type of highly accurate and consistent measurements answers the calls for continuous environmental observations to provide "accurate and timely data on GHG emissions to inform future policy decisions" (EPA Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule (74 FR 5620).

These robust and detailed observations of surface weather and GHG, delivered on a continuous basis, will allow scientists to obtain a detailed picture of the Earth dynamics. Further, integrating continuous GHG measurements with associated weather observations will provide a more holistic and detailed perspective not only for scientists, but for policy-makers and for society, whose awareness and support is critical for marshalling the resources required to advance efforts in this regard. Continuous environmental observations at a granular, local level, visualized and delivered to the public in a compelling and accessible manner are needed to drive conversations, and to fuel detailed scientific inquiry.

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