WMO approves global greenhouse gas tracking system

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Geneva: In a landmark decision, the World Meteorological Congress has approved a new greenhouse gas monitoring initiative, WMO said in a statement on Thursday.

The inititaive will support urgent action to reduce heat-trapping gases which are fuelling temperature increase. The new Global Greenhouse Gas Watch will fill critical information gaps and provide an integrated, operational framework which brings under one roof.

The Congress resolution endorsing the establishment of the Global Greenhouse Gas Watch received unanimous support from WMO’s 193 Members.

“It recognizes “the growing societal importance of greenhouse gas monitoring in support of improving our scientific understanding of the Earth System, and the urgent need to strengthen the scientific underpinning of mitigation actions taken by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement” said WMO.

It will build on WMO’s experience in coordinating international collaboration and research under the auspices of the Global Atmosphere Watch established in 1989 and its Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System.

“We know from our measurements that greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels – in fact higher than at any time over the last 800,000 years,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas.

“The increase in carbon dioxide levels from 2020 to 2021 was higher than the average growth rate over the past decade and methane saw the biggest year-on-year jump since measurements started” he said.

“WMO’s decision on the generational challenge of climate change mitigation is a historic step”, said Dr Lars Peter Riishojgaard, Deputy Director, WMO Infrastructure Department.

“Internationally coordinated global greenhouse gas monitoring open to all and operating under WMO’s policy of free and unrestricted exchange of data will provide valuable, timely and authoritative information on greenhouse gas fluxes to the UNFCCC Parties, which will help them in their efforts to mitigate climate change”, said Dr. Riishojggard.

The Global Greenhouse Gas Watch will consist of four main components:

-A comprehensive sustained, global set of surface-based and satellite-based observations2 of CO2, CH4 and N2O concentrations, total column amounts, partial column amounts, vertical profiles, and fluxes and of supporting meteorological, oceanic, and terrestrial variables, internationally exchanged as rapidly as possible, pending capabilities and agreements with the system operators.

-Prior estimates of the GHG emissions based on activity data and process-based models.

-A set of global high-resolution Earth System models representing GHG cycles.

-Associated with the models, data assimilation systems that optimally combine the observations with model calculations to generate products of higher accuracy.

According to WMO between 1990 and 2021, the warming effect on our climate by long-lived greenhouse gases rose by nearly 50%, with carbon dioxide accounting for about 80% of this increase.

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