GAUGE - Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions

The GAUGE project (Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions) is a three and a half year collaboration between several universities and research institutions across the UK. The project aims to determine emissions using information from satellites, aircraft, tall towers, balloons and boats. In addition to developing new measurements, GAUGE uses computer models to simulate the atmospheric transport of greenhouse gases. The goal is to make the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions amongst the best-quantified in the world.

The ACRG are one of the many contributors to GAUGE, involved in the measurement of gases at tall tower sites, the calibration of those measurements and modelling the atmospheric transport of these gases. 

Further information on the GAUGE project can be found at http://www.greenhouse-gases.org.uk/.

Tall Tower Network

Part of our role in GAUGE has been the establishment of two further tall tower sites, in addition to those we currently run as part of the DECC network. These sites are located in Heathfield, East Sussex and Bilsdale, Yorkshire. Measurements at Heathfield began in December 2013, while measurements at Bilsdale started in January 2014.  

Gases measured at these sites are: CO2, CO, CH4, N2O and SF6. ‌

GAUGE Flights

In addition to a network of ground sites, the ACRG has participated in a number of airborne campaigns designed to increase the spatial and vertical sampling domains. The flights are coordinated in collaboration with FAAM, on board the BAe 146-301 large Atmospheric Research Aircraft (the ARA), an initiative funded by NERC and the Met office offering an airborne platform to the atmospheric research community. 

We have collected  pressurised air samples during flights, for subsequent analysis in the laboratory. WAS (Whole Air Samples) samples collected in parallel with GAUGE research flights are analysed via Medusa GCMS for a range of trace atmospheric species, including a suite of anthropogenic and natural halocarbons in addition to other halogenated compounds. By combining flight data with ground station observations, we can obtain a more complete understanding of tropospheric behaviour and emission source distribution. Airborne sampling offers a unique opportunity to probe the vertical properties of the lower atmosphere, aiding our modelling efforts to better constrain UK and global emissions estimates.

In addition to WAS sampling, we also fill pressurised glass flasks, for analysis of the radiocarbon isotope, 14C. Radiocarbon has a background level that gets depleted over time by the addition of fossil fuels that contain no Radiocarbon due to their age. Analysing the abundances of 14C around the UK by will help quantify emissions generated via the combustion of fossil fuels.  

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