2050: Arlyn Andrews – The Emissions Hunter

What is your job?
Lead, Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases Division, Global Monitoring Laboratory, NOAA. I oversee a team tracking greenhouse gases using sensors on planes, cell towers, mountains, islands, and ships.

How are you helping cool the planet?
We use our data along with satellite measurements to monitor and understand greenhouse gas emissions and removal processes to provide a solid scientific basis for climate change-related decision-making and mitigation efforts. You could think of us as greenhouse gas accountants and detectives. Our carefully calibrated observations are foundational, and our people are so dedicated, so meticulous, so inventive.

What most surprised you about your job?
The first time I walked into a NASA aircraft hangar as a graduate student felt like being in a movie — so out of the realm of anything I ever expected. I felt so lucky. I loved the mechanical aspects of working with instrumentation, the wrenches, and the getting up at three in the morning to install the instruments on the aircraft.

What can we do to get more young people into public service?
Promote the perks. I’ve had so many unique opportunities, traveling all over the world to conduct research, exposure to scientists across many disciplines, and engagement with international colleagues. I am always learning about new measurement and data analysis methods. I have really been supported by NOAA and by NASA. They promote young scientists and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Plus, we can take on larger scale projects than a typical academic researcher.

 

Carolyn Whelan

Carolyn is a writer, editor and analyst who covers the nexus between business and social justice issues. She broke into journalism at the Rio Earth Summit where she interviewed Al Gore and environmental pioneer David Brower. Topics covered since then range from climate change and higher education costs to drugs pricing, geopolitical strife, business ethics, artificial intelligence, gene editing, alternative energy and the search for good jobs -- and innovation in all these areas. Her pieces, reported from Europe, the US and South America have appeared in Fortune, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal and SciAm.com. Previously she worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit, Barrons.com, Columbia Business School, WWF, the UN and PwC. Carolyn is fluent in French and Spanish and resides in Brooklyn.

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