Comprehensive assessment of vertical variations in urban atmospheric CO2 concentrations by using tall tower measurement and an atmospheric transport model

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Park, Chaerin; Jeong, Sujong; Park, Hoonyoung; Sim, Sojung; Hong, Jaemin; Oh, Eunsil

Issue Date
Elsevier BV
Urban Climate, Vol.45, p. 101283
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.In this study, we performed a comprehensive assessment of the vertical CO2 concentration in the urban atmosphere using measurements at two different heights (113 m and 420 m) in Seoul, South Korea. The difference in CO2 concentration between the two altitudes (△CO2 = CO2 at 113 m minus CO2 at 420 m) showed a significant diurnal variation, with the highest at 07:00 (19.9 ppm) and the lowest at 16:00 (3.9 ppm). When the planetary boundary layer (PBL) rose above the two sites (daytime), the CO2 concentrations at the two altitudes were highly correlated (r = 0.87) with low △CO2. In contrast, when the PBL was located between the two sites (night time), the correlation coefficient of the CO2 concentration between the two altitudes decreased by 0.55 with a high △CO2. To explain the cause of this variation in △CO2 according to PBL, we performed Weather Research and Forecasting-stochastic time-inverted Lagrangian transport (WRF-STILT) simulations. Simulations showed that CO2 measurements at two different heights were influenced by the same nearby urban areas during the daytime. However, the site above the PBL only measured the CO2 of air transported from the outside downtown area during the night time. Consequently, the observed night time △CO2 is explained by the difference in air mass between the two measurements owing to PBL variations. The night time △CO2 further implicates the local attribution of observed CO2 below the PBL by removing the effect from the remote area. Because of this unique night time characteristic of △CO2, we evaluated the changes in CO2 concentration in Seoul during the COVID-19 period. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 period, △CO2 clearly decreased from 26.5 ppm to 6.2 ppm with the implementation of social distancing, thus confirming the decreasing local influence of CO2 concentrations. Our findings highlight the potential of atmospheric CO2 monitoring at high altitudes as an observation-based method to assess the effectiveness of local carbon management.
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Graduate School of Environmental Studies (환경대학원)Dept. of Environmental Planning (환경계획학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_환경계획학과)
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