Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, NIWA
In 2016, 175 parties agreed to ambitious greenhouse gas reductions under the UNFCCC Paris agreement, yet estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and uptake by carbon sinks remain uncertain. The capability to verify emissions reductions at sub-national to national scale and guide carbon mitigation policy is urgently needed to support climate mitigation.
Atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements have a key role to play in supporting our transition to a low carbon world. The amount of greenhouse gases stored in the atmosphere is the by far the most well-known component of greenhouse gas budgets due to precise, accurate greenhouse gas records from a global network that comprises more than 400 stations, supported by over 80 nations. When these observations are combined with atmospheric transport models that link the emissions to atmospheric mixing ratios, they can be used to infer greenhouse gas emissions and uptake through atmospheric inverse modelling.
Aotearoa New Zealand has developed one of the first national scale atmospheric inverse modelling systems, and the first to tackle carbon dioxide. Here, I will share what we have learned about our carbon dioxide and methane balance, how our findings are supporting the New Zealand’s transition to zero carbon, and our new partnership with Harvard University to work with MethaneSAT.