Environmental Monitoring

Greenhouse Gas Monitoring System Announced

December 8, 2011

Earth Networks is teaming up with leading atmospheric researchers to implement a state-of-the-art sensor network to measure emissions in California.

GERMANTOWN, MD /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Earth Networks, the operator of the largest weather, lightning and climate observation networks and owner of WeatherBug, announces its collaboration with the State of California and leading atmospheric scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to deploy an advanced network of greenhouse gas–monitoring stations for measuring concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) throughout California. With this program, researchers will use continuously collected greenhouse gas (GHG) observation data and implement a state-of-the-art, top-down inversion methodology to measure emissions in California, which has committed to reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Earth Networks is adding GHG monitoring instruments in California and nearby states to contribute data from its weather, lightning, and greenhouse gas monitoring networks to support these research efforts. The network will integrate data from additional measurement sites operating under Scripps, Berkeley Lab, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the goal of contributing to assessments for GHG mitigation policy in California and nationwide. The data collected and integrated from these sites and additional atmospheric measurements are expected to reduce uncertainties in emission estimates.

The density of observational data with this top-down approach will make it possible to quantify and map more localized GHG emissions and uptakes (sinks), and importantly, their changes over time. In contrast to bottom-up estimates, which are widely used to approximate emissions, based on statistics and patterns of human activities, top-down methodology uses atmospheric observations and direct measurements to determine actual GHG levels and their sources. Earth Networks will use inverse modeling techniques that combine GHG measurements with real-time weather data, making it possible to trace atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions back to their sources with less uncertainty.

The initiative is taking place under a University of California Discovery Grant, a program that promotes collaborations between University of California (UC) researchers and industry partners to support cutting edge-research, strengthen the state's economy, and serve the public good.

Earth Networks is currently deploying GHG monitoring stations to enable the independent measurement, reporting and verification of GHG levels and emissions to fulfill the need for precise measurements and for advancing climate science.

"The integration of additional atmospheric observations from Earth Networks' GHG sensor network, in addition to measurements and inventories provided by CARB and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, holds the promise of enabling greater understanding of emissions and fluxes in California," says Dr. Ying Kuang Hsu, Air Pollution Specialist of CARB.

According to Dr. Marc L. Fischer from the U.S. Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab, "California is making progress toward its AB-32 commitment by quantifying its current greenhouse gas emissions from human activities and natural processes. However, much remains to be learned in under-sampled areas. Additional measurement stations will be valuable in this endeavor."

"More data is necessary to better understand the world around us and the changes taking place over time in the atmosphere," says Bob Marshall, President and CEO of Earth Networks. "California has long been a leader in deploying new technologies and initiatives that help conserve resources, while supporting research that provides a greater understanding of our world today. The new integrated network will benefit the state of California by providing atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements on a scale that has never been achieved before."

For the initiative, Earth Networks will use environmental instruments from Sunnyvale, California-based firm Picarro. The analyzers use a technique known as cavity ring-down spectroscopy to make precise and reliable measurements of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

AboutEarth Networks
As the provider of advanced weather data for nearly 20 years, Earth Networks (formerly AWS) operates the world's largest weather observation and lightning detection networks and is building what will become the largest greenhouse gas–monitoring network. Observations from Earth Networks inform and alert consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world, providing them with advanced environmental intelligence for decision making and safety. The company's popular WeatherBug Web site, desktop application, and mobile apps provide millions of consumers with real-time, local weather information and dangerous severe weather alerts. Enterprise solutions from Earth Networks enable organizations, including energy and utilities, agriculture, schools, sports and recreation, emergency operations, and government entities, to safeguard lives, prepare for weather and climate events, and improve business operations. Earth Networks is headquartered in the Washington, DC, area with offices in Mountain View, CA; New York, NY; Milan, Italy, and a local presence in 50 countries worldwide.

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