National Physical Laboratory

HIGHGAS: Metrology for High Impact Greenhouse Gases



The measurement of greenhouse gases is pivotal to understanding changes in the Earth's climate. National and international legislation is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and requiring their measurement in the atmosphere.

Long-term observations based on accurate and stable standards ensure that data meets the requirements of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) compatibility goals and environmental policy makers, as well as academic and regulatory users.

Beyond the state of the art

Disseminate stable, SI traceable, coherent and internationally comparable reference standrds that meet WMO compatibility goals, by achieving:

  • Passivation chemistry to guarantee stability and accuracy over the timescales required
  • Novel methods to quantify target components in the matrix gas and improve purification systems
  • Matching of isotope distribution and matrix of reference standards to address systematic biases from instrumentation
  • Portable calibration devices for dissemination to the field and for reactive components
  • Optical transfer standards based on laser absorption spectroscopy to validate field measurements
  • Ratios of stable isotopologues to trace the origin or sink
  • Develop cheaper field techniques (e.g. OIRS)
  • Improved atomic weights for calculating amount fractions of high accuracy gas standards


  • Maintain stable values of greenhouse gases for analysis of trends in the atmosphere
  • Underpin future data sets and the global capability for interpreting trends for improving our understanding of the influence of these components on climate change, air quality and human health
  • Supply stable and accurate global data for global chemistry modelling
  • Develop accurate benchmarks for evaluating the 'state of the atmosphere'
  • Transparent basis for developing and implementing policies for the control of anthropogenic emissions
  • Defensible compliance with legislation (Kyoto Protocol, WMO/GAW programme, 2008/50/EC, 2001/81/EC, 2000/76/EC) and improvements in quality of life

Contact us

For further information on this research, please contact us:

HIGHGAS project website
Customer enquiry tel: +44 20 8943 8715

Last Updated: 23 Dec 2014
Created: 10 Dec 2014


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