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Siberian CO2 quantified

A complex of precision instruments capable of measuring not only the concentration but also the dynamics of the greenhouse gases’ entering into the air was installed in eight localities in Western Siberia by the scientists of V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics. The results of the monitoring will help to plan the economic activity in the region, taking into account the climate changes.

Environmental theme, judging by the mentioning in the federal mass media is not very popular in Russia. More attention to it has begun to be paid just in the past few weeks due to the periodic very noticeable deterioration of air quality in the Moscow region. Meanwhile, the environmental monitoring is one of the primary tasks of modern science, on the solution of which depends the success of virtually all sectors of the economy in the future. According to the scientists, this direction only to be developed in Russia.

"Our territory, huge in size, can be considered as a large white spot for now as far as the data on the dynamics of climate’s changing are concerned, – Boris Belan, the Head of the Laboratory of climatology of atmospheric composition of the Institute of Atmospheric Optics, project manager for the creation of a regional system of greenhouse gases’ monitoring, says. - Russia has three serious monitoring stations of greenhouse gases, and they, in fact, are outside of the country, in the ocean. Therefore, unrealistic estimates are laid in the theoretical predictions, and the likelihood that it will be possible to predict climate changes reliably on the basis of such predictions is not high".

Boris Belan and his colleagues are going to establish the full control over the situation with greenhouse gases in Western Siberia - a region where climate variations are strategically important for the whole planet. It is here, where the huge amounts of greenhouse gases are in a bound state, in the permafrost, in organic soils and if they start digging out, it will accelerate the greenhouse effect.

"According to the data obtained by measurements from aircraft, the carbon dioxide concentration was constant in Western Siberia in the summer up to 2005, i.e. the Siberian forests fully absorb the excess of CO2. During the past decade, this has not been happening. Now the concentration of carbon dioxide is increased four times, and the growth is not going to stop. Hence,

our forests do not cope with such an influx of greenhouse gases. This is a very alarming fact. We are just finding out the reasons", - Boris Belan said.

To control the dynamics of carbon dioxide’s revenues, the scientists have established a set of devices equipped with high-precision gas detection equipment, in eight points from Barnaul edge to the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.

Each item is a fixed relay mast with external elements for mounting sensors and air-selected devices on different altitude levels. There is a container with equipment for collecting and processing information nearby. Stations operate in automatic mode. Researchers are developing a measurement technique that will allow interpretation of the data obtained.

"According to the information collected, as well as on the basis of calibration by the standard gas mixtures, we reconstruct the actual concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, which are the changes in parameters of our interest not only in time but also in space - Boris Belan said. - This system will allow us to say exactly from where and in which quantities the greenhouse gases release to air in Western Siberia. If CO2 will continue to pile up, there will appear a danger of overheating the Earth's atmosphere. It has no vents in fact, and it cannot be ventilated. The greater the amount of greenhouse gases, the more we heat. Siberia, of course is a cold region, and, on the one hand, we have nothing to worry much about. But the trouble is that the glaciers of the Arctic Ocean are melting, which means that coastal areas in many parts of the globe, including ones of our territory will be flooded. It will be necessary to evacuate people, to move the infrastructure, and it has a huge cost".

The project "Development of a regional system of greenhouse gases’ monitoring intended for analysis of distribution and long-term variability of their concentration in the territory of  Western Siberia" is supported by the the Federal Targeted Programme for Research and Development in Priority Areas of Development of the Russian Scientific and Technological Complex for 2014-2020.

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