NOAA ‘TALL TOWER’ TO TRACK FRONT RANGE CARBON EMISSIONS, AIR QUALITY
July 31, 2007 — A new sensor in what will be a broad nationwide network for tracking carbon is now monitoring the air over Colorado’s Front Range. A 1,000-foot-high tower east of Erie is one of 12 “tall towers” being instrumented by NOAA to capture the regional ebb and flow of atmospheric carbon. This network of sensors monitors the natural carbon cycle and fossil fuel emissions, which help drive climate change. NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo., is developing the tower network across the nation as part of its global observations of carbon-cycle gases.(Click NOAA image for a larger view from the top of one of 12 tall towers NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab is installing across the nation to capture the regional ebb and flow of atmospheric carbon. Please credit "NOAA.")
and other cities are spending money to reduce their fossil fuel emissions.
They need accurate data to know what is working and what is not,”
says ESRL scientist Arlyn Andrews. “With this new regional information,
decision-makers will be able to see if their emissions reductions have
an impact on the atmosphere.”
Land use, drought, forest growth, wildfires and the daily carbon flux produced by daytime plant photosynthesis and nighttime respiration can dwarf short-term changes in human-produced fossil fuel emissions. Over time, however, the release of carbon dioxide as a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion has raised atmospheric levels 30 percent since preindustrial times.
we’ll be able to measure all of these effects — natural
and human. Nature has been giving us a break on carbon storage. If that
starts to change, we need to be able to see it,” Andrews says.
the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide sensors sit in a six-foot high
metal frame at the base of the tower. They draw in air through tubes
from three different levels along the tower. Next year, ESRL scientists
will begin gathering air in metal flasks, which will be sent to the
Boulder lab for analysis. The flask samples will provide even greater
detail on sources of Front Range carbon emissions.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
Anatta, NOAA Research, (303) 497-6288