Lighthouse keeper Óskar Jakob Sigurdsson will be presented with the Environmental Hero Award by the US Ambassador in Iceland Carol van Voorst in a special ceremony at the US Embassy in Reykjavík today.
Sigurdsson has enabled the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory’s Global Monitoring Division Cooperative Global Air Sampling Network to produce a 15-year time series of carbon dioxide and other trace gas measurements at the Stórhöfdi lighthouse on the Westmann Islands.
Since 1992 Sigurdsson has collected air samples for the GMD Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases group at the lighthouse.
Sigurdsson shipped the samples from the Westmann Islands to the US Embassy in Reykjavík with the aid of the National Weather Office. From there, the Embassy sent the samples to the GMD laboratories in Boulder, Colorado, for measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, H2, N2O, SF6, VOCs, and the stable isotopes of CO2.
Of the nearly 600 samples collected by Oskar, 98 percent have met the lab’s strict quality control criteria. These measurements help establish the “background” levels of these climatically important gases before the air passes over the European continent and are used by scientists at GMD and many other institutions worldwide to study the carbon cycle and global climate change.
Click here to read more about Sigurdsson and the Stórhöfdi lighthouse.