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Assessment of uncertainties of an aircraft-based mass balance approach for quantifying urban greenhouse gas emissions

Description

Urban environments are the primary contributors to global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Because much of the growth in CO[subscript 2] emissions will originate from cities, there is a need to develop,

Urban environments are the primary contributors to global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Because much of the growth in CO[subscript 2] emissions will originate from cities, there is a need to develop, assess, and improve measurement and modeling strategies for quantifying and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from large urban centers. In this study the uncertainties in an aircraft-based mass balance approach for quantifying carbon dioxide and methane emissions from an urban environment, focusing on Indianapolis, IN, USA, are described. The relatively level terrain of Indianapolis facilitated the application of mean wind fields in the mass balance approach. We investigate the uncertainties in our aircraft-based mass balance approach by (1) assessing the sensitivity of the measured flux to important measurement and analysis parameters including wind speed, background CO[subscript 2] and CH[subscript 4], boundary layer depth, and interpolation technique, and (2) determining the flux at two or more downwind distances from a point or area source (with relatively large source strengths such as solid waste facilities and a power generating station) in rapid succession, assuming that the emission flux is constant. When we quantify the precision in the approach by comparing the estimated emissions derived from measurements at two or more downwind distances from an area or point source, we find that the minimum and maximum repeatability were 12 and 52%, with an average of 31%. We suggest that improvements in the experimental design can be achieved by careful determination of the background concentration, monitoring the evolution of the boundary layer through the measurement period, and increasing the number of downwind horizontal transect measurements at multiple altitudes within the boundary layer.

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  • 2014-09-02

A multiyear, global gridded fossil fuel CO2 emission data product: Evaluation and analysis of results

Description

High-resolution, global quantification of fossil fuel CO[subscript 2] emissions is emerging as a critical need in carbon cycle science and climate policy. We build upon a previously developed fossil fuel

High-resolution, global quantification of fossil fuel CO[subscript 2] emissions is emerging as a critical need in carbon cycle science and climate policy. We build upon a previously developed fossil fuel data assimilation system (FFDAS) for estimating global high-resolution fossil fuel CO[subscript 2] emissions. We have improved the underlying observationally based data sources, expanded the approach through treatment of separate emitting sectors including a new pointwise database of global power plants, and extended the results to cover a 1997 to 2010 time series at a spatial resolution of 0.1°. Long-term trend analysis of the resulting global emissions shows subnational spatial structure in large active economies such as the United States, China, and India. These three countries, in particular, show different long-term trends and exploration of the trends in nighttime lights, and population reveal a decoupling of population and emissions at the subnational level. Analysis of shorter-term variations reveals the impact of the 2008–2009 global financial crisis with widespread negative emission anomalies across the U.S. and Europe. We have used a center of mass (CM) calculation as a compact metric to express the time evolution of spatial patterns in fossil fuel CO[subscript 2] emissions. The global emission CM has moved toward the east and somewhat south between 1997 and 2010, driven by the increase in emissions in China and South Asia over this time period. Analysis at the level of individual countries reveals per capita CO[subscript 2] emission migration in both Russia and India. The per capita emission CM holds potential as a way to succinctly analyze subnational shifts in carbon intensity over time. Uncertainties are generally lower than the previous version of FFDAS due mainly to an improved nightlight data set.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-09-16