The Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases (CCGG) research area operates the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, measuring the atmospheric distribution and trends of the three main long-term drivers of climate change, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as carbon monoxide (CO) which is an important indicator of air pollution. The Reference Network is a part of NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The measurement program includes around the clock measurements at 4 baseline observatories and 8 tall towers, air samples collected by volunteers at more than 50 sites, and air samples collected regularly from small aircraft mostly in North America.
CCGG is also active in the development of a global model called 'CarbonTracker'. CarbonTracker is a CO2 measurement and modeling system developed to keep track of sources (emissions to the atmosphere) and sinks (removal from the atmosphere) of carbon dioxide around the world. CarbonTracker uses atmospheric CO2 observations from a host of collaborators and simulated atmospheric transport to estimate these surface fluxes of CO2. A version of CarbonTracker for methane (CH4) has also been developed, as well as CarbonTracker-Lagrange (CT-L), a regional inverse modeling framework designed for estimating North American greenhouse gas emissions and uptake fluxes.
Researchers from NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder have devised a breakthrough method for estimating national emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels using ambient air samples and a well-known isotope of carbon that scientists have relied on for decades to date archaeological sites.
Record high levels of greenhouse gas pollution continued to increase the heat trapped in the atmosphere in 2019, according to an annual analysis released by NOAA scientists.
NOAA has launched a wide-ranging research effort to investigate the impact of reduced vehicle traffic, air travel, shipping, manufacturing and other activities on Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.