Boulder Central Facility: Introduction

By Stacey Hitchcock, 2011

This project was made possible through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program

Welcome to the Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gasses (CCGG) group's Boulder Central Facility. CCGG is one of the six groups that make up the Global Monitoring Division (GMD) branch at NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, CO. The GMD strives to provide "the best possible information on atmospheric constituents that drive climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and baseline air quality." Basically, the group is determined to understand and provide the best possible information about climate change through extensive research.

The CCGG group is responsible for monitoring greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere through a global cooperative Air Sampling Network. Continuous measurements are taken at baseline observatories and tall tower sites, and that information is recorded and sent back to the CCGG group in Boulder. Air samples are collected in flasks at baseline observatories, tall tower sites, on aircraft, and at sea and land surface sites around the world and are brought back to the CCGG Boulder Central Facility to be analyzed. The major greenhouse gases (CO2, CO, CH4, NO, H2, and SF6) as well as over 50 other trace gases and isotopes are measured by dedicated scientists using specialized equipment and standard procedures to ensure that measurements are accurate. The labs that make up the CCGG Boulder Central Facility are an essential part of maintaining an accurate and reliable record of greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere.