NIASRA’s Distinguished Prof Noel Cressie and Dr Andrew Zammit Mangion in the Centre for Environmental Informatics, in collaboration with Dr Ann Stavert from CSIRO, have been awarded a major grant by the Australian Research Council for the ARC Discovery Project, Bayesian inversion and computation applied to atmospheric flux fields.

The associated funding of $505,000 makes this the highest-funded ARC Discovery Project in the Mathematical Sciences for 2019.

The research proposed for this three-year grant can be summarised as follows:
An overabundance of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere is arguably the most serious long-term threat to the planet’s ecosystems. The project aims to make use of unprecedented sources of measurements, from remote sensing and in situ data, to estimate the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. It will combine measurement uncertainties, process uncertainties in the physical transport models, and any parameter uncertainties, to provide reliable uncertainty quantification for the estimates. This will be achieved with new Bayesian spatio-temporal inversions and big-data computational strategies. The resulting statistical inferences on greenhouse-gas flux fields will enable the development of critical mitigation strategies in the presence of uncertainty, which will be a valuable resource to policy-makers worldwide.

Research has begun to understand the spatio-temporal variability of remotely sensed, column-averaged carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. A video of its evolution obtained from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory–2 is available on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=INql7mxcTTM, and an image of one day from the video is shown below.