School of GeoSciences Research

Carbon monitoring

Our team of researchers are world leaders in techniques used to estimate global terrestrial carbon fluxes from satellite data. Our work is helping governments around the world to meet the UN Paris Agreement goals on carbon stocktakes.

A GPS or Weather Satellite in space orbiting the Earth

Methods to measure carbon emissions and sinks are enshrined in international agreements.

Countries are encouraged to develop independent sources of information to monitor the effectiveness of policy measures. For example, the UK and Switzerland include such independent data as part of their United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change submissions. The UK was the first major economy in the world to pass laws mandating verifiable net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

Led by Professor Paul Palmer, our team of scientists have pioneered the interpretation of satellite measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2­) and methane (CH4) to infer the magnitude and distribution of their surface fluxes.  

This work is helping to underpin the global response to the 2015 UN Paris Agreement to undertake global carbon stocktakes. 

The far-reaching and global impact of our research supports the commitment by UK, European and many international governments to the goals of the UN Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to "well below 2 degrees". 

Our research has made key contributions to the reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC reports are the formal scientific input to the decision-making processes of international climate change negotiations and agreements and are the scientific foundation for the 2015 Paris Agreement.


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