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Press release | Focus | Climate | Energies | Environment
Green House Gas Monitoring
Coordinated by Philippe Ciais at the French Laboratory for Sciences of Climate and Environment (LSCE, CEA / CNRS / UVSQ) and co-financed by Suez, Thales Alenia Space and Total, this chair - with a budget of 1.5M Euros - is managed by the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The French Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory (LMD, CNRS / ENS / École Polytechnique/Sorbonne University) which, like the LSCE, is part of the Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace, is also involved in this programme.
The historic Paris climate agreement defines an international objective to limit global warming to well below 2°C. In order to reach this objective, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by half every 10 years. To achieve these reductions, there is first of all a need to know current emissions, reliably and with independent data, both for carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), whose 'fugitive' emissions are currently difficult to estimate. This is the purpose of this chair.
The development of the scientific proposals will be followed with interest by the industry:
The existing satellites dedicated to the monitoring of greenhouse gases and the instruments used today on the ground do not properly meet the need for a concentrated and accurate sampling of the atmosphere close to the emissions. In close collaboration with the industry partners, the Trace chair researchers will assess a new generation of measurement instruments with the help of simulations and field tests. They also intend to develop and test measurement operating protocols on the basis of very fine-scale atmospheric transport models and advanced data processing in order to enable the implementation of operational platforms for monitoring emissions.
Trace will lean on the modelling of the dispersion and transport of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere, whether on the scale of continents or an industrial site, on models of the transfer of near-infrared solar light in the atmosphere and its absorption by greenhouse gases. The research will also focus on the development of new, compact and relatively low-cost sensors for the monitoring of local emissions of methane and carbon dioxide.
The so-called 'inversion' statistical techniques will be used to find which emission maps or localised sources can explain increases in the measured concentrations.
It will also consist in having a concentrated space cover and very high temporal cover of the atmospheric concentrations, in order to enable the localisation and precise quantification of the sources. This responds to the commitments of the signatory states of the Paris agreement and makes it possible to identify the actions to be implemented as a priority in order to reduce emissions.
Throughout its training programme, the Trace chair will be able to transfer its expertise to the industry partners in order to facilitate their ownership of the innovative tools it will develop. It will also train students who could continue the development of such systems in the research environment or use them in an operational way within partner companies or other emission-monitoring stakeholders.
The LSCE and LMD teams of researchers associated with the Trace chair have world-renowned expertise in the field of the atmospheric monitoring of concentrations and flows of greenhouse gases. This partnership should reinforce the impact of their research and the action of the partner companies in the fight against climate change and emissions reduction. It will be combined with several international initiatives, including the World Meteorological Organisation's IG3IS programme.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.