Guidance: Monitoring and verification of long term UK atmospheric measurement of greenhouse gas emissions

Updated: AR17 published

BEIS has a programme of atmospheric monitoring of trace gases at Mace Head in the Republic of Ireland, which has been running since 1987. These data are monitored and interpreted on behalf of BEIS by the University of Bristol and the Met Office respectively.

The atmospheric observations derive baseline concentrations and emission estimates for the UK, which are used to help verify the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, as well as feeding into other research programmes, such as NitroEurope and global networks, such as Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE).

The Mace Head site is well positioned to contrast air entering Europe from the Atlantic with emissions leaving Europe towards the Atlantic, thus enabling the Met Office to determine emissions estimates for the UK.

In 2011, BEIS established an expanded programme of atmospheric observations to deliver increased spatial and temporal resolution in the emissions estimates. This was achieved through the establishment and adoption of three new observation sites: Angus (Scotland), Ridge Hill (Herefordshire) and Tacolneston (Norfolk).

Further information on BEIS’s atmospheric observations network, including project reports, is available on the Met Office: Atmospheric Trends website.

Further information on how this data is used to support verification of the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory is available in the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory report.

The Mace Head data are publicly available at The World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG) and Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC) following expert peer review.

Please check our frequently asked questions or email climatechange.statistics@beis.gov.uk if you have any questions or comments about the information on this page.