Wed September 7, 2011
Environmental Research

Three-Year Study Produces Global Portrait of Greenhouse Gases

Scientists from Colorado and other national institutions are wrapping up a three-year research mission to study and measure greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  It’s the most extensive airborne measurement of these gases to date.

A series of flights to map the global distribution of climate-affecting particles and gases like carbon dioxide – which began in 2009 - comes to a close next week.

The project known as HIPPO has given scientists an unprecedented look at where heat-trapping particles and gases are coming from – important research even beyond academia.

“World policy makers are increasing their investment and considering how we might reduce things like black carbon, mitigate the sources of black carbon, in order to achieve a reduction in climate warming over the short term,” says Dave Fahey, a research physicist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

HIPPO relies on the unique capabilities of a specially equipped aircraft, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research – or NCAR – based in Boulder. The flights, spanning the Arctic to the Antarctic, have collected cross-sections of data from the ground to nearly nine miles above the earth’s surface.