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Facility upgrades set to enable national greenhouse gas emissions inventory

A UK research consortium has launched a new programme to develop a national greenhouse gas emissions measurement dashboard for the UK.

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measurement and Modelling Advancement (GEMMA) programme is led by the National Physical Laboratory, in partnership with the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Met Office, National Centre for Earth Observation and University of Bristol.

The team will work together to create an integrated network to monitor the entirety of all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the UK.

Their information database will play a driving role in helping to achieve emission reduction targets nationally, and supporting global efforts to limit climate temperature rise.

Currently UK net emissions can only be calculated from known and recognised sources and sinks. However, Earth’s climate responds to all contributions, whether known or not, which is where the new measurement programme provides the key to success.

GEMMA will implement a top-down systems approach to complement the detail of traditional bottom-up inventories, to provide the best available UK net emissions information.

As part of the investment, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science will lead upgrades on their nationwide measurement facilities, initially providing enhanced capability for monitoring gases at Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory and a series of Air Quality Supersites in major cities.

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science will also take innovative steps forward in exploring whether unmanned aerial vehicles can provide a long-term solution for collecting emissions data in our atmosphere, working closely in collaboration with the University of Manchester.

The GEMMA programme will enable the National Centre for Atmospheric Science to further develop our world-leading greenhouse gas measurement monitoring network. GEMMA will support upgrades at our Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory – a Global Atmosphere Watch station – and our nationwide air quality sites. Our research team will also explore innovative use of drones, as a way to detect greenhouse gas emissions in different environments around the world.

Dr Grant Forster, Lead Scientist at National Centre for Atmospheric Science Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory, and Research Scientist at the University of East Anglia.

Over the next two years the team will research, develop and demonstrate a system which will allow the UK to accurately measure and assess changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases on a monthly basis. 

The investment in new capability, funded by UK Research and Innovation and the Natural Environmental Research Council, will bolster efforts to improve national greenhouse gas data, which provide powerful and timely insight into the UK’s net zero transition.