An international observing system sets a global framework for measuring greenhouse gas emissions
Long-term measurements of Earth’s atmosphere show rapidly rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to human activities. Existing observing networks provide information on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at the global scale, but this spatial scale is not sufficient to help nations, regions, and other entities quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions. To improve the relevance of emissions information for decision-making, an international initiative is promoting scientific methods that combine atmospheric concentration and emissions inventory data with simulations of atmospheric motions, forming a framework for more accurate and consistent emissions estimates over a range of spatial and temporal scales useful in informing policies, their implementation, and outcomes.
NASA, NOAA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have provided leadership and support for the development of the World Meteorological Organization Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) initiative. The IG3IS initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of nations, states, cities, and industries to target emissions reduction opportunities and track progress towards their goals. Success depends on the availability of atmospheric measurements in key greenhouse gas source regions, and relies on a multi-tiered observing strategy involving satellite, aircraft, mobile, and tower-based surface measurements.
Since gaining approval of its Science Implementation Plan in June 2018, IG3IS has supported the creation of new projects under its national, subnational, and industrial foci, and has won endorsement for the use of its framework and methods by international organizations such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites. A key outcome from these efforts is that the IPCC Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories has published new guidelines for all countries detailing the value and use of atmospheric measurements-based information in their 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
1 Fahey, D.W., S.J. Doherty, K.A. Hibbard, A. Romanou, and P.C. Taylor, 2017: Physical drivers of climate change. In: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 73-113. doi: 10.7930/J0513W