The rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases is the primary driver of climate change. Closely monitoring the chemical composition and physical properties of the atmosphere is therefore critical to understanding climate change. However, the broad variety of monitoring methods often makes it difficult to identify global climate trends due to noncomparable datasets.

Our atmosphere section covers the metrological contribution to support in situ observations of the Global Climate Observing System Atmospheric Essential Climate Variables (ECVs).

The observations include measurements of the atmospheric composition (e.g. greenhouse gas, ozone and aerosol observations) and physical properties of surface and upper-air atmosphere (e.g. temperature, pressure, water vapour and wind speed and direction observations). This metrological contribution − through traceable reference standards − aims to ensure accurate, stable and coherent observation datasets. As a result, we expect worldwide comparable data to become available, facilitating the identification of long-term climate trends and, in turn, the implementation of effective mitigation strategies for those trends.

Case Studies

Examples of measurement science for atmosphere can be found in the selected case studies below:

Forecasting snow-related hazards

The stability of snow cover in mountain regions is highly dependent on the weather – local conditions, for example, will influence the occurrence of avalanches, or river flooding due to an increase in meltwater production. To estimate the risk, networks of weather stations are used to gather the data needed to help forecast the...

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Weather Data for Climate Change

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, oversees global monitoring of the Earth’s weather. This includes maintaining networks of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) which measure temperature, humidity and pressure around the world, data which is used to make short term local and nat...

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Improved Climate Change Monitoring

Around the world, automatic weather stations measure parameters including temperature and humidity, with networks gathering data from multiple locations to generate shorttimescale weather forecasts. This data could also be used to make climate change predictions, but characterising long-term trends, such as global warming, requ...

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New Arctic Meteo in-situ calibration

Providing the traceability to the SI units needed to ensure globally comparable measurements, even in the most remote monitoring locations, poses a key challenge to environmental monitoring. The extreme conditions encountered in many remote locations can significantly affect the response of environmental sensors, making accurat...

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