40th anniversary global atmospheric monitoring annual conference in Boulder hgmac cover bookletighlights climate trends, atmospheric changes

May 11, 2012

Atmospheric researchers from around the world will gather in Boulder, Colo. next week for the 40th Global Monitoring Annual Conference. This annual event showcases world-class research on Earth’s changing atmosphere with a focus on trends affecting climate change, air pollution and ozone-layer depletion.

“Nearly 250 scientists from 18 countries on five continents are coming here for the 40th anniversary conference,” said Jim Butler, director of the Global Monitoring Division at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. “Our guests include world-class researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as keynote speakers, leading NOAA scientists, many of our international partners as well as a high school student who has done some important air quality work with NOAA.”

During the last four decades, scientists have used the Global Monitoring Annual Conference to present important new findings: The discovery, for example, that regrowing forests in parts of the globe were pulling some greenhouse gases back out of the atmosphere. And evidence that a global commitment to cut emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals was working: levels of many of those chemicals were dropping and the Antarctic ozone hole was no longer getting worse every year.

A full agenda for the Global Monitoring Annual Conference can be found here:http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/annualconference/.


40th Annual Global Monitoring Conference


May 15-17, 2012 (all times listed in Mountain Daylight Time)


Earth System Research Laboratory, David Skaggs Research Center
325 Broadway, Boulder


  • Keynote speakers
    Stephen Wofsy (Harvard University) and Ron Prinn (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Different aspects of climate change. Wofsy: Two recent missions to untangle diverse influences on the global atmosphere. Prinn: Scientific verification of greenhouse gas emissions by countries and other sectors. (Wofsy Tuesday 8:30 a.m.; Prinn Wednesday 8:15 a.m.)

  • Carbon dioxide additions and subtractions
    Pieter Tans (NOAA): Whether oceanic and terrestrial “sinks” of carbon dioxide (processes that remove the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere) can keep up with emissions from human activities. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.)

  • Oil and gas emissions 
    Anna Karion and Gabrielle Petron (NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences/CIRES): Initial findings from a recent mission to a Utah oil and gas basin to better understand how emissions from various activities in the basin affect air pollutant and greenhouse gas levels. Karion presents data from a light aircraft that sampled the air in the basin and Petron presents measurements from a mobile laboratory packed into a van. (Tuesday: Karion, 1 p.m. talk; Petron, 5-7 p.m. poster)

  • Ozone and mercury in the Arctic 
    Sam Oltmans (NOAA and CIRES): How sea ice loss in the Arctic leads to atmospheric chemistry changes that may, in turn, let mercury pollution get into oceanic and terrestrial food webs. Brie Van Dam (University of Colorado’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research): How the ozone-mercury relationship may play out at an inland Alaska site. (Tuesday 5-7 p.m. poster)

  • Innovative instruments
    Colm Sweeney (NOAA and CIRES): Recent experiments with the NOAA-patented AirCore sampling system, which captures detailed profiles of the atmosphere’s composition, including levels of greenhouse gases, inexpensively. Such data will be increasingly important for confirming satellite-based measurements of greenhouse gases and other constituents of the atmosphere. (Wednesday 11:30 a.m. talk) 

  • STUDENT PRESENTATION: Measuring air pollutants
    Michael Seltzer (student from Boulder’s Fairview High School): Progress developing an inexpensive method for estimating particle pollution. Conventional measurements are expensive to make or involve instruments that are tricky to maintain. Seltzer’s filtration-based method is inexpensive, relatively simple and accurate enough for many applications. (Tuesday 5-7 p.m. poster)

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