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Summer School for Inverse Modeling of Greenhouse Gases (SSIM-GHG) 2024

June 11-21, 2024
Fort Collins, CO, USA


Rising concentrations of CO2 and CH4 are the driver of climate change and reflect a complex mix of natural and human sources and sinks. For example, plants and oceans absorb about half of human CO2 emissions every year, slowing the progression of climate change. Tracking progress to combat climate change requires good quality understanding of sources and sinks and underlying processes, which come from a variety of complex modeling tools that help scientists calculate the exchanges of CO2 and CH4 at the Earth’s surface from atmospheric data. This workshop, supported by the newly-established US Greenhouse Gas Center, aims to develop a future workforce skilled at using existing tools as well as building their own tools to understand sources and sinks of greenhouse gases.

Workshop goals

The goal of the workshop is to present and provide guidance and instruction of the state of the art in atmospheric data assimilation techniques needed to support current and future GHG observing systems. This includes different flux estimation techniques for GHGs, and retrieval techniques for estimating atmospheric GHGs from space-based and surface-based remote sensing platforms.

Tentative workshop contents and agenda

    • Basics of GHGs, carbon cycle science and atmospheric transport models

    • Basic inverse theory and introduction to Bayesian statistics

    • Techniques specific to atmospheric inversions
        • Synthesis Bayes Methods/Matrix Methods

        • Variational techniques using adjoint models

        • Ensemble Kalman Filter approachs

        • Discussions of rank reduction, MCMC techniques, non-linear complications, next-generation inversion approaches

    • All modules will include hands-on examples for students

    • Satellite retrieval of Greenhouse Gases

    • Opportunity to interact and network with other young scientists with aligned interests

    • Opportunities for field trips and exploration of the Front Range of Colorado 

Who Should Apply?

  • The workshop is primarily intended for graduate students and early-career post-docs. Exceptional and highly motivated undergraduates may also apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants must have a good understanding of basic linear algebra (e.g., matrix manipulations, eigenvectors and eigenvalues, ranks and null spaces) and basic probability theory (e.g., discrete and continuous random variables, conditional probability, probability density functions and distributions).
  • Given the hands-on nature of the workshop, applicants must be comfortable in numerical analysis, data processing and plotting in at least one (interpreted) programming language of their choice. Instructors will try to provide hands-on examples in python, R and Octave/Matlab, and students are expected to translate those examples to their own language of choice, if different.
  • Due to federal funding sources, the workshop is restricted to participants affiliated with US institutions. Travel to/from the workshop venue will only be reimbursed within the US. There is no restriction on the citizenship of the participants.
  • The US Greenhouse Gas Center recognizes and supports the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce working on greenhouse gas solutions of the future. To that end, we encourage applications from all US institutions, including those that may not have an extensive research program in greenhouse gas modeling.

How to Apply

Interested participants should submit a 1-page or less (single spaced, 12 pt font, letter paper, 1” margins, excluding possible references) statement of why they want to attend the summer school and learn atmospheric inversion techniques. This should include how they satisfy the recommended background requirements detailed above, and their current and/or future research interests. Applicants should email this information to with the subject “Application for 2024 DA Summer School”.

In addition, a letter of reference is required from their current adviser or supervisor stating why the applicant will be a good candidate for the summer school. This letter of reference should be emailed by the adviser/supervisor directly to with the name of the applicant in the subject line. Questions about the workshop may be addressed



The cost of the workshop to the participants is expected to be minimal if not zero. Airfare, lodging and meals (within reasonable limits) are completely funded through the US Interagency Greenhouse Gas Center for all participants.

Participants will be housed in CSU campus housing in Fort Collins, CO. Breakfast and dinner will be provided at a campus dining facility. Group transportation to/from the workshop venue will be arranged in the morning and afternoon. Lunch will be provided at the venue. There are city buses and ride-share services for transportation outside those windows.

Participants are expected to bring their own laptop computers for running the codes and examples. Local Wi-Fi will be provided. Guidance will be provided for setting up compute environments correctly on the laptops.


Ft Collins CO

The summer school will be held on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO (above), nestled up against the front ranges of the Northern Colorado Rockies. Classes will be held in the newly-renovated building of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Atmosphere (CIRA, below).


Opportunities will exist during the workshop to explore the surrounding area on the off days, both in organized groups as well as individually, should the participants so desire. The shot below shows the road going up Poudre Canyon to Cameron Pass, a likely destination for one of our outings.

Poudre canyon


All applications and reference letters are due by January 31, 2024.

Accepted candidates will be informed by email no later than March 1, 2024.