Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE)
The ACRG runs two of the world’s nine global background stations under the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) programme. One of these is Mace Head on the west coast of Ireland, which is ideally placed for resolving northern hemispheric baseline air amongst European pollution events. The other research station managed by us here at the ACRG is the site at Ragged Point, Barbados. This site just north of the tropics sits on the eastern edge of the island of Barbados and is directly exposed to the Atlantic.
There is a wide range of instrumentation at both sites measuring a large range of gases. The Medusa is the most technically sophisticated instrument at the sites. It was developed to measure the full range of Montreal (ozone depleting) and Kyoto Protocol (global warming) gases and has been adopted by the entire AGAGE network and is based on the original ADS system design.
The data acquired is submitted to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). The data has in the past, and will continue in the future, to provide a wealth of information regarding atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, the activities of industry during this transition period, and the year-to-year variability of the natural atmospheric environment.
Data acquired by other monitoring networks, such as NOAA-GMD for CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances from analysis of flasks can be compared and provide independent verification.
The magnitude of the deviations from baseline can be used in conjunction with models, to ascertain where the air originated from on a regional scale. The resulting estimates of UK and European emissions and their distributions can be compared to other inventories where available. Atmospheric measurements of this type provide an important cross-check for the emission inventories submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).