Climate tech is about to fly commercial

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Hiring private contractors to sample greenhouse gases from the air is an important aspect of NOAA’s climate research. Here, Paolo Wilczak pilots a sampling flight over southeastern Connecticut on April 25, 2020, as part of the East Coast Outflow field mission. The Global Monitoring Laboratory hopes to add civilian airliners to its sampling fleet.  | Paolo Wilczak, Scientific Aviation

A greenhouse gas-tracking technology is about to go commercial. Greenhouse gas detectors will soon take flight on an Alaska Airlines-run Boeing 737-9, in an effort to help federal scientists get even more information about how we’re changing the climate. The tools would measure concentrations of planet-heating pollution in the air, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.

They’re calling the plane, which won’t have any passengers, an “ecoDemonstrator.” It’s testing a number of contraptions along with the greenhouse-gas detector — including features that might make the plane more fuel-efficient or less noisy.

Over several test flights this year, NOAA will figure out the best place to install their...

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