Determination of the emission rates of CO 2 point sources with airborne lidar

Wolff, Sebastian; Ehret, Gerhard; Kiemle, Christoph; Amediek, Axel; Quatrevalet, Mathieu; Wirth, Martin; Fix, Andreas

Anthropogenic point sources, such as coal-fired power plants, produce a major share of global inline-formulaCO2 emissions. International climate agreements demand their independent monitoring. Due to the large number of point sources and their global spatial distribution, the implementation of a satellite-based observation system is convenient. Airborne active remote sensing measurements demonstrate that the deployment of lidar is promising in this respect. The integrated path differential absorption lidar CHARM-F is installed on board an aircraft in order to detect weighted column-integrated dry-air mixing ratios of inline-formulaCO2 below the aircraft along its flight track. During the Carbon Dioxide and Methane Mission (CoMet) in spring 2018, airborne greenhouse gas measurements were performed, focusing on the major European sources of anthropogenic inline-formulaCO2 emissions, i.e., large coal-fired power plants. The flights were designed to transect isolated exhaust plumes. From the resulting enhancement in the inline-formulaCO2 mixing ratios, emission rates can be derived via the cross-sectional flux method. On average, our results roughly correspond to reported annual emission rates, with wind speed uncertainties being the major source of error. We observe significant variations between individual overflights, ranging up to a factor of 2. We hypothesize that these variations are mostly driven by turbulence. This is confirmed by a high-resolution large eddy simulation that enables us to give a qualitative assessment of the influence of plume inhomogeneity on the cross-sectional flux method. Our findings suggest avoiding periods of strong turbulence, e.g., midday and afternoon. More favorable measurement conditions prevail during nighttime and morning. Since lidars are intrinsically independent of sunlight, they have a significant advantage in this regard.

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Wolff, Sebastian / Ehret, Gerhard / Kiemle, Christoph / et al: Determination of the emission rates of CO2 point sources with airborne lidar. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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