By Lynne Friedmann
In the debate over global climate treaties, among the issues hampering progress is the need to measure, report, and verify the actions of individual countries in emitting and reducing greenhouse gases (GHG). Today, only a few dozen continuous-observing locations exist to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4); the two most important long-lived GHGs in the atmosphere. This lack of instrumentation severely limits data collection and analysis.
On Jan. 12, Scripps Institution of Oceanography UCSD announced a partnership with Earth Networks (formerly AWS Convergence Technologies) in the world’s first privately funded global network for observing atmospheric GHGs.
“This is based on research being done at Scripps for 56 years,” said Tony Haymet, SIO director.
Earth Networks will invest $25 million, over five years, in new technology to create the network as well as establish a new research center for climate science at Scripps. Earth Networks will initially deploy 100 GHG observing systems, beginning with 50 in the continental U.S., followed by deployments in Europe and other areas of the world.
“We are going to take the pulse of the planet.” said Robert Marshall, president and CEO of Earth Networks.
On hand for the announcement in La Jolla were top representatives from SIO, Earth Networks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The network will use NOAA gas calibration standards to ensure compatibility with the World Meteorological Organization scales for GHGs.
“Our interest in the climate area is emission reduction and verification,” said James Whetstone, special assistant to the director for greenhouse gas measurements at NIST.
Deployment of the network has already begun with one of the first monitors installed on the SIO Pier with data already available to researchers and the public.
View live San Diego observations at
View 3C animation of CO2 concentration levels over San Diego the past 24 hours:
Press conference video:
Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach