Articles | Volume 18, issue 5
Research article
08 Mar 2018
Research article |  | 08 Mar 2018

High-resolution quantification of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada

Stephanie C. Pugliese, Jennifer G. Murphy, Felix R. Vogel, Michael D. Moran, Junhua Zhang, Qiong Zheng, Craig A. Stroud, Shuzhan Ren, Douglas Worthy, and Gregoire Broquet

Abstract. Many stakeholders are seeking methods to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in urban areas, but reliable, high-resolution inventories are required to guide these efforts. We present the development of a high-resolution CO2 inventory available for the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding region in Southern Ontario, Canada (area of  ∼ 2.8 × 105 km2, 26 % of the province of Ontario). The new SOCE (Southern Ontario CO2 Emissions) inventory is available at the 2.5 × 2.5 km spatial and hourly temporal resolution and characterizes emissions from seven sectors: area, residential natural-gas combustion, commercial natural-gas combustion, point, marine, on-road, and off-road. To assess the accuracy of the SOCE inventory, we developed an observation–model framework using the GEM-MACH chemistry–transport model run on a high-resolution grid with 2.5 km grid spacing coupled to the Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS) v2 inventories for anthropogenic CO2 emissions and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) land carbon model C-TESSEL for biogenic fluxes. A run using FFDAS for the Southern Ontario region was compared to a run in which its emissions were replaced by the SOCE inventory. Simulated CO2 mixing ratios were compared against in situ measurements made at four sites in Southern Ontario – Downsview, Hanlan's Point, Egbert and Turkey Point – in 3 winter months, January–March 2016. Model simulations had better agreement with measurements when using the SOCE inventory emissions versus other inventories, quantified using a variety of statistics such as correlation coefficient, root-mean-square error, and mean bias. Furthermore, when run with the SOCE inventory, the model had improved ability to capture the typical diurnal pattern of CO2 mixing ratios, particularly at the Downsview, Hanlan's Point, and Egbert sites. In addition to improved model–measurement agreement, the SOCE inventory offers a sectoral breakdown of emissions, allowing estimation of average time-of-day and day-of-week contributions of different sectors. Our results show that at night, emissions from residential and commercial natural-gas combustion and other area sources can contribute > 80 % of the CO2 enhancement, while during the day emissions from the on-road sector dominate, accounting for > 70 % of the enhancement.

Short summary
We developed the Southern Ontario CO2 Emissions (SOCE) inventory, which identifies the spatial and temporal distribution (2.5 km and hourly, respectively) of CO2 emissions from seven source sectors. When the SOCE inventory was used with a chemistry transport model, we found strong agreement between modelled and measured mixing ratios. We were able to quantify that natural gas combustion contributes > 80 % of CO2 emissions at nighttime while on-road emissions contribute > 70 % during the day.
Final-revised paper