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Who We Are

Who We Are

The NIST Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Measurements Program aims to improve emission measurement tools to better equip decision makers and mitigation managers with capabilities to chart progress in GHG emissions mitigation. 

NIST’s Greenhouse Gas Measurements Program develops and demonstrates measurement tools, standards and reference data in the areas of:

  • Observations and Analysis
  • Urban Dome Testbed System
  • Sensor Development
  • International Standards


It is generally agreed that GHG mitigation actions by municipal, regional and state governments, and by private sector institutions will be the main focus of implementation measures.  Policy approaches are likely to be market based or regulatory in nature (or a combination) facilitated by technology advances.  Widely recognized and accepted emissions quantification tools are needed for effective mitigation policy implementation.

Reliable identification of source locations, and those responsible for them, and the amount of GHG emitted is critical to effective management and an essential component underpinning science-based decision making.  Since reduction of atmospheric GHG concentrations is the end goal of reducing atmospheric warming, the incorporation of atmospheric measurement results in emissions inventories will play an essential mitigation role in tracking progress in emission reduction efforts.  Recently published literature showed that these methods are beginning to produce high quality, reliable data although additional research is needed.  The development of international documentary and measurement standards is critical for enabling the business community to provide high quality data and analysis services to city stakeholders.

Urban Focus

Globally a large fraction of GHG emissions originate from cities, where a similar fraction of the world’s population lives.  It is widely argued that cities are both part of the problem and part of the solution to addressing climate change.  Therefore, any attempt to reverse climate trends must have a focus on cities and their GHG emissions.

We have established three urban test beds where researchers develop and test new tools and technologies for quantifying emissions at the urban scale. These are Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and the Northeast Corridor. Within these testbeds, we work collaboratively with other groups and agencies including researchers, industry, other federal agencies, and governments.

Timeline of Urban Test Beds: Indianapolis in 2010, LA in 2013, and the Northeast Corridor in 2014


Created February 23, 2022, Updated September 29, 2022