Donald J. Wuebbles

University of Illinois
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
105 S. Gregory St
Urbana, IL
USA 61801


Donald J. Wuebbles Don Wuebbles is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. However his work goes well beyond that through providing analyses and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society. He has co-authored a number of international scientific assessments, including as a coordinating lead author for the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment on the science of climate change, the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment, and the 2014 WMO assessment on stratospheric ozone. He has received many awards, including the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is a Fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.


Enhancing Greenhouse Gas Observations and Analysis Post-Paris

The atmospheric burden of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), is rapidly increasing, with concomitant effects on Earth’s climate, atmospheric composition, ocean processes, and sea level. These in turn are already impacting infrastructure, agriculture, and social and economic systems both here in the United States and globally, and will have an even greater impact in coming years. There is additional risk in that disturbances to Earth’s ecosystems will lead to undesirable feedbacks that could accelerate the rate and increase the magnitude of climate change and its impacts.

The December 2015 Paris Agreement is a game changer, driving the need for enhanced understanding of GHG emissions and budgets. Under the Paris Agreement, each of the 195 countries that have signed has agreed (through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs) to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions in the post-2020 period out to 2025 or 2030. The long-term goal is to hold climate change, globally-averaged, to 2°C (3.6°F) or less (1.5°C is desirable) – we are currently at about 1°C. Meeting these goals of course means continuing to ramp up INDC’s under the Paris Agreement to further reduce human-related emissions.

The United States is a world leader in virtually all aspects of climate change research, including the measurement of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs). There are a number of existing efforts and programs throughout federal agencies and other organizations already estimating, measuring, and studying various aspects of GHG emissions and associated processes. However, there is a need to explore whether the capabilities for “top-down” monitoring and modeling of GHGs can compliment and improve upon “bottom-up” emissions estimates, and support the transparency and reporting needs under the Paris Agreement. This presentation is aimed at examining the existing efforts in observing and analyzing GHG emissions and budgets, and where enhanced capabilities, including increased coordination between the agencies, could reduce uncertainties and increase the accuracy in understanding of GHG emissions and budgets in the United States and globally.