13C.4 Building the World's Largest GHG Monitoring Network—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 2:00 PM
La Nouvelle C ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Robert S. Marshall, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD; and W. Callahan

Five years ago, Earth Networks launched a unique public/private partnership to install and operate the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) sensor network in the world. The goal of the network was threefold: to improve the understanding of GHGs in the atmosphere, especially at regional and local scales; inform the research community, policy makers and private industry with more precise environmental intelligence; and enable the independent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of GHG levels and emissions to support international and regional climate policy initiatives.

At launch, Earth Networks partnered with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, NOAA's Global Monitoring Division (GMD), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Scripps scientists pioneered the measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere, starting in 1958 with measurements at Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Today, Scripps' famous “Keeling Curve” is the foundation of much of our climate science. NOAA has also been measuring CO2 at Mauna Loa since 1970 and at several other tall towers in the U.S. NOAA also produces the WMO calibration standards for CO2 and methane that are purchased and used by Earth Networks. NIST operates a developing program to establish standards for the measurement of GHGs in urban megacities, where 70% of all carbon emissions originate. Today, the Earth Networks GHG network is the largest network of its kind in the world, and includes sensors at nearly 50 tall towers in the U.S. Data from this network is being used by top climate scientists at organizations that include Scripps, NOAA, NIST, Harvard, Caltech/NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and others. Data from the network is being used to further climate science research and to independently estimate GHG emissions via the use of atmospheric measurements.

This presentation will detail the implementation and operation of this network, the roles of the partners in its development, challenges encountered along the way, and future growth of the network and its applications.

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