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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jul 2020

03 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Quantitative evaluation of the uncertainty sources for the modeling of atmospheric CO2 concentration within and in the vicinity of Paris city

Jinghui Lian, François-Marie Bréon, Grégoire Broquet, Bo Zheng, Michel Ramonet, and Philippe Ciais Jinghui Lian et al.
  • Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Abstract. The top-down atmospheric inversion method that couples atmospheric CO2 observations with an atmospheric transport model has been used extensively to quantify CO2 emissions from cities. However, the potential of the method is limited by several sources of misfits between the measured and modeled CO2 that are of different origins than the targeted CO2 emissions. This study investigates the critical sources of errors that can compromise the estimates of the city-scale emissions and identifies the signal of emissions that has to be filtered when doing inversions. A set of one-year forward simulations is carried out using the WRF-Chem model at a horizontal resolution of 1 km focusing on the Paris area with different anthropogenic emission inventories, physical parameterizations and CO2 boundary conditions. The simulated CO2 concentrations are compared with in situ observations from six continuous monitoring stations located within Paris and its vicinity. Results highlight large nighttime observation-model misfits, especially in winter within the city, which are attributed to large uncertainties in the diurnal profile of anthropogenic emissions as well as to errors in the vertical mixing near the surface in the WRF-Chem model. The nighttime biogenic respiration to the CO2 concentration is a significant source of modeling errors during the growing season outside the city. When winds are from continental Europe and the CO2 concentration of incoming air masses is influenced by remote emissions and large-scale biogenic fluxes, differences in the simulated CO2 induced by the two different boundary conditions (CAMS and CarbonTracker) can be of up to 5 ppm. Our results suggest three selection criteria for the CO2 data to be assimilated for the inversion of CO2 emissions from Paris (i) discard data that appear as statistical outliers in the model-data misfits which are interpreted as model's deficiencies under complex meteorological conditions; (ii) use only afternoon urban measurements in winter and suburban ones in summer; (iii) test the influence of different boundary conditions in inversions. If possible, using additional observations to constrain the boundary inflow, or using CO2 gradients of upwind-downwind stations, rather than absolute CO2 concentration, as atmospheric inversion inputs.

Jinghui Lian et al.

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Jinghui Lian et al.

Jinghui Lian et al.


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Latest update: 21 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Currently there is a growing interest in monitoring city-scale CO2 emissions based on atmospheric CO2 measurements, atmospheric transport modeling and inversion technique. We analyze the various sources of uncertainty that impact the atmospheric CO2 modeling and that may compromise the potential of this method for the monitoring of CO2 emission over Paris. Results suggest selection criteria for the assimilation of CO2 measurements into the inversion system that aims at retrieving city emissions.
Currently there is a growing interest in monitoring city-scale CO2 emissions based on...