Gas Detection

Real-Time Atmospheric Monitoring of Stable Isotopes and Trace Greenhouse Gases

Feb 05 2008

Author: Aaron Van Pelt on behalf of Picarro Inc

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Human activity, primarily fossil fuel use, is adding roughly 3 ppm/yr of CO2 to the atmosphere and this increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is driving global climate change. Terrestrial ecosystems act as both natural sources and sinks for atmospheric carbon, but the mechanisms by which carbon is absorbed from and released into the atmosphere are not well understood. In addition, a recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international assemblage of scientists commissioned by the United Nations to assess the scientific, technical, and socioeconomic information relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, and whose members won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, concludes that: “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” Without the ability to determine the regional sources and sinks of CO2, it is difficult to predict future atmospheric carbon levels and to understand the effect of these elevated carbon levels on the global and regional climates.

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