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Climate observation from land and space

Measurement of climate variables to inform decision making

Climate observation to assure climate response

Measuring changes to the Earth’s atmosphere is a complex challenge. Understanding the impact that any climate mitigation actions have on our atmosphere requires information from many different sources and may use measurements which span decade-long timescales. The Earth’s atmosphere does not act according to land-based geographical boundaries and addressing the scale of the challenge associated with measuring the atmosphere across the entire circumference of the Earth – some 100km above the surface – requires international co-operation. Through this co-operation, we can start to better understand the ways in which human activity is causing changes in our climate and how we might combat these changes.

NPL’s experts are working to identify the measurement challenges associated with understanding climate variables to support coordinated international climate action by:

  • addressing variability of a non-linear system impacted by weather, clouds and ocean interactions
  • developing improved predictive systems and modelling of weather and atmospheric change
  • enabling feedback loops to understand the impact of human activity on the atmosphere.

Our expertise in addressing measurement issues for climate and Earth observation

Our research is helping to deliver accurate and reliable climate and Earth observation data through:

  • Expert utilisation of Earth observation (EO) instruments, remote sensing and ground-based measurements, which can be used to inform regulation through accurate and reliable data
  • Comparing different measurement techniques and data to ensure traceability and enable comparison to help drive global understanding
  • Delivering in-space, SI-traceable, reference EO measurements and cross-calibration capability including our contributions to the TRUTHS Mission
  • Developing methods, standards and validation processes to enable interoperability of EO satellite sensors, to upgrade climate observation systems to help ensure that essential climate variables (ECVs) are accurately represented and understood

The UK Government has set ambitious targets for transforming the UK’s energy system, outlined in the 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper and the Clean Growth Strategy, which each provide a robust framework for how the UK can deliver on climate action and meet these targets.

NPL is working to deliver on these strategies. We support world-leading innovation, and our research is helping to drive cost reductions and ensure deployment of low-carbon technologies. NPL’s research is also increasing our understanding of emissions and pollution, and we are working to improve how we measure key climate variables both on the ground and from space.

NPL applies the latest advances in measurement science to make every stage of energy generation, transport and usage more efficient, safe and affordable, and to improve the quality of data available on the state of our climate and natural environment.

Case study

Proving the technology that will underpin the UK’s national spaceflight services


Working with NPL

Our researchers are at the forefront of new innovations that promise to deliver new solutions for environmental challenges. We play a vital role in providing the standards and assurance to accelerate new products to market and providing reliable data. Learn more about our research areas and working with our experts.  

If you have a research collaboration where our expertise can help, please can contact the team and discuss your challenge.

Contact us

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070