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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2018

Research article | 04 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Characterization of lower-cost medium precision atmospheric CO2 monitoring systems for urban areas using commercial NDIR sensors

Emmanuel Arzoumanian1, Felix R. Vogel1,2, Ana Bastos1, Bakhram Gaynullin3, Olivier Laurent1, Michel Ramonet1, and Philippe Ciais1 Emmanuel Arzoumanian et al.
  • 1LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Universite Paris-Saclay, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 3SenseAir AB, Delsbo, Sweden

Abstract. CO2 emission estimates from urban areas can be obtained with a network of in-situ instruments measuring atmospheric CO2 combined with high-resolution (inverse) transport modeling. The distribution of CO2 emissions being highly heterogeneous in space and variable in time in urban areas, gradients of atmospheric CO2 need to be measured by numerous instruments placed at multiple locations around and possibly within these urban areas, which calls for the development of lower-cost medium precision sensors to allow a deployment at required densities. Medium precision is here set to be a random error (uncertainty) on hourly measurements of ±1 ppm or less, a precision requirement based on previous studies of network design in urban areas. Here we present tests of a HPP commercial NDIR sensors manufactured by Senseair AB performed in the laboratory and at actual field stations, the latter for CO2 concentration in the Paris area. The lower-cost medium precision sensors are shown to be sensitive to atmospheric pressure and temperature conditions. The sensors respond linearly to CO2 when measuring calibration tanks, but the regression slope between measured and true CO2 differs between individual sensors and changes with time. In addition to pressure and temperature variations, humidity impacts the measurement of CO2, all causing systematic errors. In the field, an empirical calibration strategy is proposed based on parallel measurements with the lower-cost medium precision sensors and a high-precision instrument cavity ring-down instrument during 6 month. This empirical calibration method consists of using a multiple regression approach to create a model of the errors defined as the difference of CO2 measured by the lower-cost medium precision sensors relative to a calibrated high-precision instrument, based on predictors of air temperature, pressure and humidity. This error model shows good performances to explain the observed drifts of the lower-cost medium precision sensors on time scales of up to 1–2 months when trained against 1–2 weeks of high-precision instrument time series. Residual errors are contained within the ±1 ppm target, showing the feasibility to use networks of HPP instruments for urban CO2 networks, provided that they could be regularly calibrated against one anchor reference high-precision instrument.

Emmanuel Arzoumanian et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Emmanuel Arzoumanian et al.
Emmanuel Arzoumanian et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Here, we tested lower cost CO2 sensors in laboratory and field studies to see if they can achieve a performance target (less than 1 ppm bias with monthly calibration) that would allow using them for monitoring of atmospheric CO2 in urban areas. We find that the commercial CO2 sensor's readings are influenced by temperature, atm. pressure and water vapour, but this can be corrected for by adding sensors (T/p/RH) and carefully calibrating the measured CO2 compared to a high-precision instrument.
Here, we tested lower cost CO2 sensors in laboratory and field studies to see if they can...