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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-138
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-138
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 May 2020

Submitted as: research article | 26 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

A local to national-scale inverse modeling system to assess the potential of spaceborne CO2 measurements for the monitoring of anthropogenic emissions

Diego Santaren1, Grégoire Broquet1, François-Marie Bréon1, Frédéric Chevallier1, Denis Siméoni2, and Philippe Ciais1 Diego Santaren et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Thales Alenia Space, La Bocca, France

Abstract. This work presents a flux inversion system for assessing the potential of new satellite imagery measurements of atmospheric CO2 to monitor anthropogenic emissions at scales ranging from local intense point sources to regional and national scales. While the modeling framework keeps the complexity of previous studies focused on individual and large cities, this system encompasses a wide range of sources to extend the scope of the analysis. This atmospheric inversion system uses a zoomed configuration of the regional transport model CHIMERE which covers most of Western Europe with a 2-km resolution grid over Northern France, Western Germany and Benelux. For each day of March and May 2016, over the 6 hours before a given satellite overpass, the inversion controls separately the hourly budgets of anthropogenic emissions in this area from ~300 cities, power plants and regions. The inversion also controls hourly regional budgets of the natural fluxes. This enables the analysis of results at the local to regional scales for a wide range of sources in terms of emission budgets and spatial extent while accounting for the uncertainties associated with natural fluxes and the overlapping of plumes from different sources. The potential of satellite data to monitor CO2 fluxes is quantified by posterior uncertainties or uncertainty reductions (URs) from prior inventory-based statistical knowledge.

A first analysis focuses on the hourly to 6-hour budgets of the emissions of the Paris urban area, and on the sensitivity of the results to different characteristics of the images of vertically integrated CO2 (XCO2) corresponding to the spaceborne instrument: the pixel spatial resolution, the precision of the XCO2 retrievals per pixel, and the swath width. This sensitivity analysis provides a correspondence between these parameters and thresholds on the targeted precisions on emission estimates. However, the results indicate a large sensitivity to the wind speed and to the prior flux uncertainties. The analysis is then extended to the large ensemble of point sources, cities and regions in the study domain, with a focus on the inversion system ability to monitor separately neighbor sources whose atmospheric signatures overlap and are also mixed with those produced by natural fluxes. Results highlight the strong dependence of uncertainty reductions to the emission budgets, to the wind speed and whether the focus is on point or area sources. With the system hypothesis that the atmospheric transport is perfectly known, the results indicate that the atmospheric signal overlap is not a critical issue. For the emissions within the 6-hours before a satellite overpass, UR of more than 50 % can only be achieved for power plants and cities whose annual emissions are more than ~2 MtC yr−1. For more regional budgets encompassing more diffuse emissions, this threshold increases up to ~10 MtC yr−1. The results suggest therefore an imbalance of the monitoring capabilities towards high and dense sources.

Diego Santaren et al.

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Diego Santaren et al.

Diego Santaren et al.

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Short summary
Atmospheric transport inversions with synthetic data are used to assess the potential of new satellite observations of atmospheric CO2 to monitor anthropogenic emissions from regions, cities and large industrial plants. The analysis, applied to a large ensemble of sources in Western Europe, shows a strong dependence of the results to different characteristics of the spaceborne instrument, to the source emission budgets and spreads, and to the wind conditions.
Atmospheric transport inversions with synthetic data are used to assess the potential of new...
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