WMO unveils plans for sustainable monitoring of greenhouse gases
The WMO initiative would create a network of ground-based measurement stations that can verify worrying air quality data that’s been flagged by satellites or airplanes, potentially in the next five years.
“At present, there is no comprehensive, timely international exchange of surface and space-based greenhouse gas observations,” the UN agency said, as it urged “improved (international) collaboration” and data exchange to support the 2015 Paris Agreement, which provides a roadmap for reduced carbon emissions and climate resilience.
Climate of understanding Cooperation between governments, international organizations and the private sector will be essential, if the proposed Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring plan is to be viable, WMO has stressed.
Just as important will be increased coordination between surface-based, airborne and space-based observation networks.
Some governments and international organizations already carry out specific atmospheric monitoring and maintain datasets, but “there is no overall steering mechanism and there is undue reliance on research funding”, WMO explained, in support of the creation of a single and internationally coordinated atmospheric monitoring body.
The Earth’s atmosphere is mainly made up of nitrogen and oxygen, but there are also many different trace gases and particles that have a substantial impact on life and the natural environment.
Since industrialization, emissions of greenhouse gases have changed atmospheric composition dramatically.
In particular, WMO has warned repeatedly that increasing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are contributing to global warming and driving climate change.
These and other pollutants are also affecting air quality for humans, agriculture and ecosystems, which is why accurate measurements of the air we breathe is so important, climate scientists believe.