Articles | Volume 16, issue 21
Research article
 | Highlight paper
31 Oct 2016
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 31 Oct 2016

The BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network: initial evaluation

Alexis A. Shusterman, Virginia E. Teige, Alexander J. Turner, Catherine Newman, Jinsol Kim, and Ronald C. Cohen

Abstract. With the majority of the world population residing in urban areas, attempts to monitor and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions must necessarily center on cities. However, existing carbon dioxide observation networks are ill-equipped to resolve the specific intra-city emission phenomena targeted by regulation. Here we describe the design and implementation of the BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network (BEACO2N), a distributed CO2 monitoring instrument that utilizes low-cost technology to achieve unprecedented spatial density throughout and around the city of Oakland, California. We characterize the network in terms of four performance parameters – cost, reliability, precision, and systematic uncertainty – and find the BEACO2N approach to be sufficiently cost-effective and reliable while nonetheless providing high-quality atmospheric observations. First results from the initial installation successfully capture hourly, daily, and seasonal CO2 signals relevant to urban environments on spatial scales that cannot be accurately represented by atmospheric transport models alone, demonstrating the utility of high-resolution surface networks in urban greenhouse gas monitoring efforts.

Short summary
We describe the design of and first results from the BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network, a distributed instrument of 28 CO2 sensors stationed across and around the city of Oakland, California at ~ 2 km intervals. We evaluate the network via 4 performance parameters (cost, reliability, precision, systematic uncertainty) and find this high density technique to be sufficiently cost-effective and rigorous to inform understanding of small-scale urban emissions relevant to climate regulation.
Final-revised paper