Articles | Volume 7, issue 10
Research article
02 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 02 Oct 2014

Constraining regional greenhouse gas emissions using geostationary concentration measurements: a theoretical study

P. J. Rayner, S. R. Utembe, and S. Crowell

Abstract. We investigate the ability of column-integrated trace gas measurements from a geostationary satellite to constrain surface fluxes at regional scale. The proposed GEOCARB instrument measures CO2, CO and CH4 at a maximum resolution of 3 km east–west × 2.7 km north–south. Precisions are 3 ppm for CO2, 10 ppb for CO and 18 ppb for CH4. Sampling frequency is flexible. Here we sample a region at the location of Shanghai every 2 daylight hours for 6 days in June. We test the observing system by calculating the posterior uncertainty covariance of fluxes. We are able to constrain urban emissions at 3 km resolution including an isolated power plant. The CO measurement plays the strongest role; without it our effective resolution falls to 5 km. Methane fluxes are similarly well estimated at 5 km resolution. Estimating the errors for a full year suggests such an instrument would be a useful tool for both science and policy applications.