Urban emissions of CO2 from Davos, Switzerland: The first real-time monitoring system using an atmospheric inversion technique

Thomas Lauvaux, Natasha L. Miles, Scott J. Richardson, Aijun Deng, David R. Stauffer, Kenneth J. Davis, Gloria Jacobson, Chris Rella, Gian Paul Calonder, Philip L. Decola

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42 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic emissions from urban areas represent 70% of the fossil fuel carbon emitted globally according to carbon emission inventories. The authors present here the first operational system able to monitor in near-real time daily emission estimates, using a mesoscale atmospheric inversion framework over the city of Davos, Switzerland, before, during, and after the World Economic Forum 2012 Meeting (WEF-2012). Two instruments that continuously measured atmospheric mixing ratios of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were deployed at two locations from 23 December 2011 to 3 March 2012: one site was located in the urban area and the other was out of the valley in the surrounding mountains. Carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide were measured continuously at both sites. The Weather Research and Forecasting mesoscale atmospheric model (WRF), in four-dimensional data assimilation mode, was used to simulate the transport of GHGs over the valley of Davos at 1.3-km resolution. Wintertime emissions prior to the WEF-2012 were about 40% higher than the initial annual inventory estimate, corresponding to the use of heating fuel in the winter. Daily inverse fluxes were highly correlated with the local climate, especially during the severe cold wave that affected most of Europe in early February 2012. During the WEF-2012, emissions dropped by 35% relative to the first month of the deployment, despite similar temperatures and the presence of several thousand participants at the meeting. On the basis of composite diurnal cycles of hourly CO/CO2 ratios, the absence of traffic peaks during the WEF-2012 meeting indicated that change in road emissions is potentially responsible for the observed decrease in the city emissions during the meeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2654-2668
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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