Atmospheric monitoring station establishes baseline

06 September 2012


Geoscience Australia staff member installing equipment at the Arcturus greenhouse gas monitoring station near Emerald in central Queensland

Geoscience Australia staff member
installing equipment at the Arcturus
greenhouse gas monitoring station
near Emerald in central Queensland.
© Geoscience Australia


Evaluation is continuing on a new high precision atmospheric greenhouse gas monitoring station established in central Queensland which is the first of its kind to be located in inland Australia.

The Arcturus station, located in the Bowen Basin near Emerald, is part of a collaborative project between Geoscience Australia and CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research contributing to the Australian Government’s ongoing work in evaluating the safety and effectiveness of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and geological storage (CCS). The project is aimed at field-testing new atmospheric measurement technologies for CO2 and methane (CH4) in a remote location to demonstrate best practice for atmospheric baseline monitoring for geological storage of CO2.

Natural changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations can occur over hourly, seasonal and annual timescales and can be caused by variations in vegetation, the weather, the soil and other conditions. Understanding these natural variations will help to establish baseline measurements of the pre-existing atmospheric conditions which will help to distinguish any changes in levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases when CO2 storage sites are established.

Although potential leaks from CO2 storage sites are unlikely, any leaks could be masked by environmental and human induced influences on the natural levels of greenhouse gases.

The station contributes data to Australia’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network and has been accepted by the World Meteorological Organization as part of its Global Atmosphere Watch network

Details on the establishment of this station are available in the Installation Report for Arcturus.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013