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Bristol researcher awarded €500,000 as part of European project to enable effective climate policy

Press release issued: 2 December 2011

Dr Simon O’Doherty of the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry has been awarded €500,000 as part of InGOS, a European project to monitor emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases and improve the observational infrastructure.

InGOS (Integrated non-CO2 Greenhouse gas Observing System) is a four-year EU-funded project with a total budget of over €10 million.  Co-ordinated by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), 34 institutions from 15 European countries will work together to monitor concentrations and fluxes of non-CO2 greenhouse gases accurately, and create a precise and reliable measuring infrastructure.  This will be done at more than twenty different locations across Europe.

Such accurate monitoring of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions will help to provide an independent assessment of the effectiveness of European climate policy.

The aim of the participating institutes is to optimise the emission estimates per country so that policy makers are able to compare these independent emission maps with the official accounting that is reported by the countries.  This will enable them to make more effective choices on further reductions of greenhouse gases emissions.

To realise this goal, the participants in the InGOS project will increase the number and quality of measurements and also refine the computer models.  The focus of this particular initiative is on methane, nitrous oxide and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases.  Together, recent anthropogenic emissions of these gases account for half of the climatic effect of the most well-known greenhouse gas CO2.  However, these emissions are uncertain and difficult to measure.  The aim of the project partners is to reduce uncertainties and allow effective climate policies based on data with the highest possible reliability to be developed.

The project participants will focus on harmonising their measurements on towers, high mountain stations, ships and in airplanes across Europe, and by means of 'remote sensing' techniques.  Advanced computer models will translate these measuring data into emission maps, independent of what these countries report individually.  The observation-based emission maps will offer a reliable picture of the location and the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere.

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