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Project Brief

NIST Measurement Science and Engineering Research Grants


Develop and demonstrate a “top-down” measurement approach to map and quantify greenhouse gas emissions, by using measurement data from atmospheric monitoring stations combined with meteorological data to track regional emissions and movements of greenhouse gases.

RECIPIENT: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

  • Project duration: 3 Years
  • Total NIST Funding: $1,211,820
This proposal is an innovative pilot program to assess the agreement between greenhouse gas emission inventories quantified using the so-called "bottom-up" and "top-down" approaches. Currently, greenhouse gas emission inventories are estimated through a "bottom-up" approach, which may be prone to errors due to inaccurate reporting or inaccurate algorithms used to convert industrial, agricultural, and land-use practices into estimated greenhouse gas emissions. This work seeks to develop and demonstrate a "top-down" measurement approach to map and quantify greenhouse gas emissions based on the measured accumulations of these gases in the atmosphere. The proposal would lead to scientific advances in the computation effort to develop better transport models that use the measurement data from monitoring stations combined with meteorological data to track the movement of greenhouse gases in the region. This research would also support new measurement science by developing new standards. The technology resulting from this proposal could potentially serve as an independent way of monitoring greenhouse gases and their fluxes apart from the systems that directly monitor individual emission sources. If successful, this work will have a significant impact on our nation's ability to validate and verify greenhouse gas emission inventories. This new capability is a crucial step towards obtaining real and verifiable emission reductions.

Public contact (for project information):

Robert Monroe, 858-822-4487

Project Partners: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

NIST Program Office Contact:

Jason Boehm, 301-975-8678