Challenges in using observations to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 1:30 PM
124A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
James H. Butler, NOAA, Boulder, CO; and D. M. Stanitski and O. Tarasova

Climate-change challenges facing society in the 21st century require an improved understanding of the global carbon-cycle and of the impacts and feedbacks of past, present, and future emissions of carbon-cycle gases. Global society faces a major challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to virtually zero, most notably those of CO2, while at the same time facing variable and potentially overwhelming Earth System feedbacks. How it goes about this will depend upon the nature of impending international agreements, national laws, regional strategies, and social and economic forces. The challenge to those making observations to support, inform, or verify these reduction efforts, or to address potential Earth System feedbacks, lies in harmonizing a diverse array of observations and observation systems. Doing so and providing coherent, regional-scale information also requires improved modelling and ensemble reanalysis. The challenge to us is to ensure a globally coherent observing and analysis system to supply the information that society will need to succeed. Policy-makers, scientists, government agencies, and businesses will need the best information available for decision-making and the system ultimately must provide a coherent story over decades.