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UCSD Launches New Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Network

Partnership With Private Company Benefits UCSD

Internet users will soon be able to see how much of the gases that cause global warming is going into the atmosphere on a daily basis as dozens of monitors go online across the nation and the globe.

UC San Diego has launched what it says is the world's first and largest privately funded network to track greenhouse gases. A new partnership also benefits the school.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists are partnering with a private company, Earth Networks, on a global greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network.

Earth Networks will invest $25 million to set up monitoring devices beginning with 50 in the U.S.

The company is also helping fund a new research center for climate science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Scripps Scientist Ralph Keeling said it's a significant step.

"There is a process that's been going on for the last decade of more and more scientists getting involved in this and more and more measurements being made," said Keeling. "But it's incremental. And what's happening today and being announced today will be transformative. Allowing us to make many more measurements on a shorter time frame."

The devices will measure the two most significant greenhouse gases - CO2 and methane.

Today, only a few dozen continuous GHG observing locations exist, which limits analysis.

Earth Networks will initially deploy 100 GHG observing systems worldwide, beginning with 50 in the continental U.S., followed by deployments in Europe and other areas of the world.

The density of the approach will make it possible to quantify and map more localized GHG emissions and their changes over time.

Earth Networks will initially utilize environmental instruments from Sunnyvale, California-based Picarro.

The Picarro GHG analyzers utilize a technique known as cavity ring-down spectroscopy to make precise and reliable measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

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