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  • Rights: Crown Copyright 2020, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
    Published 15 October 2020 Referencing Hub media

    NIWA scientist Gregor Macara tells us about collecting air samples and the data that comes from them, which is then checked by experts like Drew Bingham from the Ministry for the Environment.

    Question for discussion:

    • Why do you think scientists collect manual samples in flasks?
    • How do you think scientists make sure measurements are robust over time?



    We monitor greenhouse gases in New Zealand currently at Baring Head, just to the east of Wellington. Out there, we have a monitoring station which has a variety of instruments which are collecting air from the atmosphere. Once that air’s collected, it gets passed through various instruments to actually detect the levels of those greenhouse gases in those air samples.

    In addition, they go up there with flasks and take manual samples as well. They take that sample back to the lab and they can compare what’s being measured sort of manually with what’s being done automatically.


    And then when the data come over to us from NIWA, we’ll do our own checks on it to make sure that the way they were storing it was correctly, the way they’ve named it and transmitted it to us is correct, so that we understand it and that we have confidence that it’s of really high quality.

    Gregor Macara, NIWA
    Drew Bingham, Ministry for the Environment
    Baring Head and Principal Technician Gordon Brailsford collecting and analysing air samples, NIWA
    Dave Lowe collecting an air sample at Baring Head, NIWA


    This resource has been produced with the support of the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. (c) Crown Copyright.

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