NRC Research Associate Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies - NOAA

Opportunity at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Atmospheric Measurements of the Global Carbon Cycle


Earth System Research Laboratories, Global Monitoring Laboratory

RO# Location
26.05.01.B5753 Boulder, CO 80305


name email phone
Andrews, Arlyn Elizabeth 303-497-6773


Carbon dioxide is the most important and long-lived of the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere by man’s activities. Its atmospheric increase will continue as long as we continue to emit it. The measured concentration patterns in the atmosphere reflect the location and strength of all sources and sinks of major importance. Seasonal photosynthesis and respiration by the land biosphere, gas exchange with the oceans, and the burning of fossil fuels and biomass all create patterns in the atmosphere with relatively small amplitudes, but clearly recognizable. Atmospheric transport models are used in “inverse” mode to translate the observed concentration differences into space- and time-dependent sources and sinks of CO2. The Global Monitoring Division operates the most extensive global network of measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, H2, N2O, SF6, and many other trace gases. Additional information is provided by extremely precise measurements of the isotopic ratios of CO2 and CH4, which are done in collaboration with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado. In particular, measurements of 14CO2 provide the opportunity to separate the contribution of fossil fuel burning from natural sources/sinks.

The global observing network has more density over North America as part of the multi-agency North American Carbon Program. Frequent and continuing measurements from aircraft and continuous measurements on a number of very tall transmission towers will create an opportunity to link carbon (and other trace gas) budgets based on ecological process models to observations relevant to very large spatial scales. The response of ecosystems to climate anomalies and disturbances is evident in the data. We are currently developing methods to quantify emissions from fossil fuel burning based on atmospheric evidence, as well as the effectiveness of other carbon management practices.

Opportunities exist to analyze existing data for patterns and correlations. Inverse modeling techniques can be applied to multiple species. In addition, opportunities exist to increase the number of chemical species measured in the atmosphere that would enhance the value of the data for constraining the carbon budget (characterization of air masses and sources) and have intrinsic value (e.g., for air pollution studies).


Carbon cycle; Greenhouse effect; High precision gas chemical measurements; Quantification of emissions; Atmospheric-surface boundary layer; Atmospheric transport models; Data assimilation; Air pollution meteorology; Isotope geochemistry;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$60,000.00 $2,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

Copyright © 2022. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy