From predicting weather to tracking greenhouse gas emissions | ZDNet

From predicting weather to tracking greenhouse gas emissions

By Heather Clancy | January 12, 2011, 10:27am PST

Summary

The company behind the Weather Bug prediction and tracking services plans a major investment in greenhouse gas sensors in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Topics

Blogger Info

Heather Clancy

Biography

Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist with a passion for green technology and corporate sustainability issues. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News, where she was a featured speaker about everything from software as a service to IT security to mobile computing.

Heather started her journalism life as a business writer with United Press International in New York. She holds a B.A. in English literature from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and has a thing for Lewis Carroll.

This falls into the category of ‘why didn’t someone think of this before?’ AWS Convergence Technologies of Germantown, Md., better known for its WeatherBug observation services, is joining forces with Scripps Institution of Oceanography to deploy what it is describing as the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network in the world.

AWS, which has changed its name to Earth Networks simultaneous with this announcement, plans to invest $25 million over the next five years to build out more than 100 advanced GHG sensors, according to Earth Networks CEO Robert Marshall. The network will use sensor technologies from Picarro, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., he says. AWS has been tracking weather since 1993.

Marshall says these sensors will offer a new level of “environmental intelligence” that can be used by governments and corporations to more closely measure the fluctuations of GHG emissions in given regions. Because Earth Networks is an expert in weather services, the new network will be able to help scientists and communities study the impact of weather patterns on the global ebb and flow of GHGs. This is a new level of “environmental intelligence” that Marshall says simply isn’t available today. There currently are only a few dozen instruments around the world measuring GHG data, the most famous of which is the Scripps observatory on the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. “This installation alone was responsible for finding out that there is an issue in monitoring rising levels of greenhouse gasses,” Marshall says.

The data collected by the planned GHG network will be available to the research community, government policy makers and companies from the private sector. Among other things, Marshall believes the network will help governments verify GHG levels in accordance with ongoing emissions reduction goals that have been embraced around the world. “Verification and reporting are a key issue for many countries,” he says.

The first 100 sensors should be in action within 12 months, he says. The first 50 of those sensors will be deployed in the continental United States, followed by Europe. The measurements will focus on carbon dioxide and methane, using calibration standards from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earth Networks will integrate data from its WeatherBug service with the GHG readings in order to provide richer climate information.

Tony Hayment, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., said:

“This network is going to measure the most important greenhouse gases, which are sometimes created as a result of industrial activities. We’ll be able to comprehend a regional level that has not previously been examined. It is about building an extensive top-down network that measures the gases that exist, and will exist tomorrow, in the atmosphere.”

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily e-mail newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist with a passion for green technology and corporate sustainability issues.

Disclosure

Heather Clancy

Writing publicly about what the high-tech industry is actually doing to help itself and the world get greener or more sustainable is one way I figure I can contribute more meaningfully to said effort. I�m also a big OMG-kind-of-fan of smart leadership, which is why the goodly folks who publish this blog let me go on about this topic and why I am always on the hunt for forward-looking business management ideas.

My daily writing is focused on looking for topics for my blogs, GreenTech Pastures and Business Brains. I also write often about emerging technology trends such as mobile computing, unified communications and cloud computing. Occasionally, I will pop up at an industry conference in some sort of speaking capacity. In cases where a speaking engagement involves a sponsor that may be covered in this blog, that fact will be disclosed in coverage as appropriate.

My corporate writing work usually consists of crafting research white papers about some aspect of technology. In the event that my commentary (in written, audio or video form) mentions a company for which I have provided consulting advice, I will disclose that fact. However, there is no connection between these projects and the topics that I�m covering in my blog.

Biography

Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist with a passion for green technology and corporate sustainability issues. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News, where she was a featured speaker about everything from software as a service to IT security to mobile computing.

Heather started her journalism life as a business writer with United Press International in New York. She holds a B.A. in English literature from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and has a thing for Lewis Carroll.

Talkback - Tell Us What You Think

advertisement

The best of ZDNet, delivered

ZDNet Newsletters

Get the best of ZDNet delivered straight to your inbox

Facebook Activity

White Papers, Webcasts, & Resources