Infrastructure for Measuring Global Greenhouse Gases


One of the most urgent challenges of our day is climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions play a significant role in this issue. Global temperatures rise as a result of greenhouse gases' ability to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere. Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and identifying their sources are crucial for finding solutions to this problem. The current condition of the infrastructure for monitoring greenhouse gases globally, the difficulties in doing so, and the possibility for new technologies to enhance monitoring capacities are all covered in this essay.

Infrastructure for Measuring Greenhouse Gases in the World Today

The infrastructure for measuring greenhouse gases is currently in a poor state. Although there are a few distinct monitoring systems in place, they are not all-inclusive and frequently just cover a small area. The Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, which is run by the World Meteorological Organization, is the most well-known monitoring system (WMO). This network monitors greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere using a few hundred monitoring stations located all around the world. The Earth's surface is only partially covered by this network, and many places are not kept under observation.

The Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), which offers estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from diverse sources around the world, is another significant monitoring system. To estimate emissions, EDGAR combines information from several sources, such as national inventories and satellite observations. Although EDGAR offers a thorough estimation of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, it has limits in terms of precision and level of detail.

The Difficulties of Monitoring Greenhouse Gases

Monitoring greenhouse gases is not without its difficulties. Lack of coverage is one of the greatest problems. Only a small portion of the Earth's surface is monitored by networks like the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, while many other areas are not monitored at all. This indicates that there are large gaps in our knowledge of greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations.

The precision of measurements presents another difficulty. It takes meticulous calibration and quality control to accurately measure greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere since the procedure is so complicated. Estimates of greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions can be significantly affected by even minor measurement mistakes. Therefore, it is crucial to have accurate measurement tools and strict quality control methods.

The price of monitoring is a third difficulty. Many nations and organizations might not have the resources to invest in monitoring infrastructure because it is expensive to build and maintain. This may result in underinvestment in new monitoring systems or a lack of coverage in some areas.

Innovative Technology for Monitoring Greenhouses

Several innovative technologies have the potential to enhance the monitoring of greenhouse gases. Satellite-based surveillance is one of the most promising. The whole surface of the Earth, even inhospitable regions, can be covered by satellites. Satellites can also give measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions with high accuracy and precision. A satellite-based monitoring system that is currently being developed is the Copernicus initiative from the European Space Agency (ESA).

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are another promising technology. UAVs can offer precise measurements of the emissions and quantities of greenhouse gases in a given location. UAVs can be used to monitor locations that are hard to get to or hazardous for people to be in, including volcanic regions or regions with a lot of pollution. Although the use of UAVs for greenhouse monitoring is still in its infancy, this technology has a great deal of potential to advance monitoring capacities.

Bottom Line

Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions is crucial for creating efficient mitigation plans since they play a significant role in climate change. The infrastructure for global GHG monitoring is now in a poor state, with large gaps in coverage and precision. Yet, there are intriguing new technologies that could enhance monitoring capacities, like UAVs and satellite-based surveillance. Governments and organizations need to fund and develop these new technologies.

Written by Chitraksh Mayank