Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 721–739, 2018
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 721–739, 2018

Research article 07 Feb 2018

Research article | 07 Feb 2018

Airborne remote sensing and in situ measurements of atmospheric CO2 to quantify point source emissions

Thomas Krings1, Bruno Neininger2,3, Konstantin Gerilowski1, Sven Krautwurst1, Michael Buchwitz1, John P. Burrows1, Carsten Lindemann4, Thomas Ruhtz4, Dirk Schüttemeyer5, and Heinrich Bovensmann1 Thomas Krings et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, FB 1, P.O. Box 330440, 28334 Bremen, Germany
  • 2METAIR AG, Airfield Hausen am Albis, 8915 Hausen am Albis, Switzerland
  • 3Zurich University of Applied Sciences, 8400 Winterthur, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Space Sciences, Free University of Berlin, Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6-10, 12165 Berlin, Germany
  • 5ESA/ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, the Netherlands

Abstract. Reliable techniques to infer greenhouse gas emission rates from localised sources require accurate measurement and inversion approaches. In this study airborne remote sensing observations of CO2 by the MAMAP instrument and airborne in situ measurements are used to infer emission estimates of carbon dioxide released from a cluster of coal-fired power plants. The study area is complex due to sources being located in close proximity and overlapping associated carbon dioxide plumes. For the analysis of in situ data, a mass balance approach is described and applied, whereas for the remote sensing observations an inverse Gaussian plume model is used in addition to a mass balance technique. A comparison between methods shows that results for all methods agree within 10 % or better with uncertainties of 10 to 30 % for cases in which in situ measurements were made for the complete vertical plume extent. The computed emissions for individual power plants are in agreement with results derived from emission factors and energy production data for the time of the overflight.