IG3IS is envisioned as an observationally based information system for determining trends and distributions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere and the ways in which they are consistent or not with efforts to reduce GHG emissions. This is being done already on a global scale through existing networks, but currently provides only a modicum of useful information at the spatial scale of nations and regions managing emissions and offsets. The IG3IS effort is aimed at improving the granularity of observations and analyses, in order to support the planning and management of Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) mitigation efforts by nations at both the national and subnational levels. IG3IS is not designed to check compliance with regulations, but rather to provide information on policy- and management-relevant scales and ensure that the information provided is consistent with a global network of high quality observations and models.
IG3IS looks to serve users (decision-makers) who are able to take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and pollutants that reduce air quality. This service is based on existing, successful methods and use cases for which the scientific and technical skill is proven. The ultimate success criteria are that the IG3IS information is “used” and guides valuable and additional emission reduction actions, building confidence (and skill) in the role of atmospheric composition measurements as an essential part of the climate change mitigation environmental remediation tool kit.
- 1989: Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme of the World Meteorological Organizaiton (WMO) was established in recognition of the need for improved scientific understanding of the increasing influence of human activities on atmospheric composition and subsequent environmental impacts. GAW measurements of ozone-depleting gases have played and continue to play a critical role in the successful response of the Montreal Protocol to stratospheric ozone depletion and the increase of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. GHG measurements from GAW are recognized by the Global Climate Observing System as a key component of its implementation plan under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- 2006: UNFCCC requires that certain countries report their annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. These inventory reports are produced according to the statistical methods outlined in the 2006 Guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC TFI)
- 2010: the atmospheric, carbon cycle and climate change science communities produced a number of studies on the potential for atmospheric GHG concentration measurements and model analyses to independently evaluate and help to inform improved estimates of GHG emission inventories [e.g., Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements (NAS 2010); GEO Carbon Strategy (GEO 2010); IPCC Task Force on National GHG Inventories: Expert Meeting Report on Uncertainty and Validation of Emission Inventories (IPCC 2010)]. These studies concluded that a realization of this approach would require additional investment in research, increasing the density of wellcalibrated atmospheric GHG measurements and improving atmospheric transport modelling and data assimilation capabilities
- June 2015: 17th World Meteorological Congress requested a plan for an Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS)
- December 2015: UNFCCC nations forged the Paris Agreement, codifying the idea of nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
- 2016: Historically, GHG measurements have been made in remote locations that optimized the sampling frequency of global background concentrations. In 2016 GAW launched a new implementation plan built on the concept of “science for services” and bringing an increased user orientation to the programme
- June 2018: 70th WMO Executive Council accepts the IG3IS Science Implementation Plan and officialy recognizes IG3IS as the benchmarking organization for standards and methodologies for atmospheric inversions used to help guide emission reduction policies and actions
IG3IS Guiding Principles:
- IG3IS will use a unified approach that combines atmospheric measurements with socioeconomic inventory data
- IG3IS will serve as an international coordinating mechanism and establish and propagate consistent methods and good-practice approaches for using atmospheric measurements and models in support of improving greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories. While the methodological details will vary, IG3IS will establish benchmarks for expected skill and quality of emission information produced
- IG3IS will provide a common framework for developing good practices utilizing diverse measurement and analysis approaches inside a framework of measurement standards
- IG3IS credibility rests upon information provided by, and their partnership with, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)
- IG3IS seeks to serve users (decision-makers) who are able to take action to reduce GHGs and improve air quality
- Applications will not begin or be developed without strong and consistent dialogue between the researchers and the users
- The system must be practical and focused on where the scientific and technical skill is proven, and where the use-case exists and the decisionmaker recognizes value
- IG3IS must mature in concert with the evolution of user-needs, policy and technical skill
When IG3IS is said out loud, it sounds like "I guess." However, our organization works to decrease uncertainty, or guessing, associated with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by providing atmospheric measurements. Therefore, we wanted our organization to show the progression of this change in uncertainty, from guessing to knowing, with the flipping of a question mark. As can be seen on the logo above, in light blue is a right side up question mark encasing the number three. However, what might be more difficult to see, is the dark blue question mark below, which also serves as the bottom of the letter "g." Both question marks share the same dot, almost as a point of rotation, but the second is completely upside down, thus symbolizing the decrease in uncertainty or guessing.
In regards to the colors chosen for the logo, both the light blue and dark blue used are the same associated with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is further explained through our partnership below. Furthermore, included within the opening of the "g" is the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) logo, an organization within the research division of WMO that hosts IG3IS.
Our Host: WMO
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)'s role regarding greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stems from its capabilities in ensuring the high quality, consistency, and continuity of greenhouse gas and other observations of atmospheric composition, developing high quality atmospheric transport and data inversion models, and ensuring a solid basis from which to make weather and climate-relevant predictions. WMO has proven to be a viable and successful coordinating program for atmospheric measurements and model improvements around the world, for leveraging capabilities across nations, and building capacity in developing nations. This is why WMO makes the perfect host for IG3IS.
- Check out this introductory piece to IG3IS written in the 2017 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Bulletin
- Read the IG3IS Concept Paper which was approved by the WMO's 68th Executive Council in 2016
- Learn all things IG3IS in the IG3IS Implementation Plan which was approved by the WMO’s 70th Executive Council in 2018