Jonathan Bent

Staff Listing

Jonathan Bent

Carbon Cycle

Mailing Address:
NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division
325 Broadway R/GMD
Boulder CO 80305-3328

Phone: 303-497-5765

Jonathan Bent

I started at NOAA ESRL in 2016 as part of the Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gas group (CCGG) within the Global Monitoring Division (GMD). My previous work focused primarily on making and improving high-precision measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) from research aircraft, including the NCAR Gulfstream V and C-130, and the NASA DC-8. My dissertation and postdoctoral work focused on using O2—which we know to be fundamentally connected to CO2 through photosynthesis, respiration, and combustion—to better describe and model the Southern Ocean, which plays an essential role in controlling Earth’s climate.

My current work at NOAA centers around AirCore, a sampler conceived by Dr. Pieter Tans, and developed by Dr. Colm Sweeney, Tim Newberger, and Jack Higgs (among others) over the last decade. The 100-meter-long AirCore coil is launched by balloon, with one end open to the atmosphere. As it ascends to ~30 km (100,000 ft) it evacuates naturally, and during a controlled descent it fills with a long and detailed profile of the atmosphere, preserved with very minimal mixing. The AirCore is recovered by van using GPS, and measured within hours back at lab for CO2, CH4 and CO. AirCore provides an important context for climate models, as measurements of trace gases are extremely sparse above 40kft. It also provides an important a priori constraint on the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite (OCO-2), which measures total column CO2 from space. My current efforts focus on intensive testing and improvement of the sampler coils, and on streamlining the measurement process—from recovery to analysis to dissemination—so that each new AirCore profile can be of use to modelers and experimentalists as soon as possible.

Education/Employment History:

BA, Earth Science and Anthropology; Columbia University, New York, NY
PhD, Oceanography; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA
Postdoctoral work: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO