Issues in Establishing In Situ Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Networks in Europe and in Regions of Interest to Europe

  • Euan Nisbet
  • Phillip O’Brien
  • C. Mary R. Fowler
  • Aodhagan Roddy
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 203)
The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases can be measured in situ to great precision. However, can the emission and uptake fluxes of these greenhouse gases be inferred from these measurements? Just as a wolf sniffs the wind, so sources of emissions can be measured at every scale from local to global and then quantified by modelling. However, as monitoring equipment is usually static, measurements only apply to air masses which have passed through the station. Several problems emerge:
  • Emission sources can be numerous and hard to distinguish. Seasonality may be muted. Thus, very high standards of precision are needed at the in situ stations accompanied by very careful inter-comparison between stations.

  • At the risk of pushing the wolf analogy too far, pack hunters have advantages over solitary predators. A network of strategically placed in situ sampling stations can monitor and assess emissions within a region far more effectively than a whole series of independent stations acting alone.

In building an effective network of complementary in situ monitoring stations, the first problem is to ensure that the data from all the stations are inter-compared. This is not easy even for a single integrated network, but has been achieved by a multinational network in Europe with careful round-robin programmes (e.g. Meth-MonitEUr 2005 for methane).


Southern Ocean Methane Emission Emission Inventory Drake Passage Free Troposphere 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Euan Nisbet
    • 1
  • Phillip O’Brien
    • 2
  • C. Mary R. Fowler
    • 2
  • Aodhagan Roddy
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Department of GeologyRoyal HollowayEghamUK
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsGalway UniversityGalwayIreland

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