Greenhouse Gas Measurements
- Greenhouse Gases Expand or Collapse
- About the Program
- Urban Test Beds
- Research Project Areas Expand or Collapse
- Climate Research by NIST Laboratories and Divisions Expand or Collapse
- International Activities
What We Do
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) stream out of power plants, seep out of landfills, flow from vehicle traffic, and rise from commercial buildings and homes. These climate-altering emissions are nearly ubiquitous, which makes them difficult to measure. But as countries around the world work to reduce emissions, measuring them accurately is more important than ever.
To find innovative, cost-effective solutions for managing emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other GHGs, decision-makers need accurate, actionable, and timely information. We are developing new technologies to provide that information—technologies that measure emissions based on direct atmospheric observations and that have less uncertainty, and faster turnaround times, than currently possible.
A Focus on Cities
Urban areas are home to roughly half the world’s population and they account for more than 70% of total GHG emissions. That’s why NIST has established three Urban Test Beds, where scientists are developing advanced technologies for directly measuring GHG emissions at small spatial scales. This will make it possible to attribute emissions to specific sources such as individual neighborhoods, traffic corridors, and landfills, allowing city planners and others to manage local emissions more effectively.
A Trusted Third Party
When you buy a gallon of gas or a pound of sugar, you can be confident that you’re getting what you paid for in part thanks to measurement standards developed at NIST. These standards allow markets to function more efficiently. NIST is also developing measurement standards for GHG emissions so that carbon markets can function properly and regulations can be implemented fairly. Because NIST is not a regulatory agency, we are able to work closely with other agencies and regulated industries to ensure that emission measurements are accurate and reliable.