19 May 2022
19 May 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Comparison of OCO-2 target observations to MUCCnet – Is it possible to capture urban XCO2 gradients from space?

Maximilian Rißmann1, Jia Chen1, Gregory Osterman2, Florian Dietrich1, Moritz Makowski1, Xinxu Zhao1, Frank Hase3, and Matthäus Kiel2 Maximilian Rißmann et al.
  • 1Environmental Sensing and Modeling, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Munich, Germany
  • 2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. In this paper, we compare Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2)’s measurements of column-averaged dry air mole fractions of CO2 (XCO2) and its urban-rural differences against ground-based remote sensing data measured by the Munich Urban Carbon Column network (MUCCnet). Since April 2020, OCO-2 regularly conducts target observations in Munich, Germany. Its target mode data provides high resolution XCO2 within a 15 km×20 km target field-of-view, that is greatly suited for carbon emission studies from space in cities and agglomerated areas. OCO-2 detects urban XCO2 with a RMSD of less than 1 ppm when compared to the MUCCnet reference site. OCO-2 target XCO2 is biased high against the ground-based measurements. The close proximity of MUCCnet’s five fully automated remote sensing sites enables us to compare space-borne and ground-based XCO2 in three urban areas of Munich separately (centre, north, and west), by dividing the target field into three smaller comparison domains. Due to this more constraint collocation, we observe improved agreement between space-borne10and ground-based XCO2 in all three comparison domains.

For the first time, XCO2 gradients within one OCO-2 target field-of-view are evaluated against ground-based measurements. We compare XCO2 gradients in the OCO-2 target observations to gradients captured by collocated MUCCnet sites. Generally, OCO-2 detects elevated XCO2 in the same regions as the ground-based monitoring network. More than 90 % of the observed space-borne gradients have the same orientation as the XCO2 gradients measured by MUCCnet. During our study, urban-rural enhancements are found to be in the range of 0.1 to 1 ppm. The low urban-rural gradients of typically well below 1 ppm in Munich during our study allow us to test OCO-2’s lower detection limits for intra-urban XCO2 gradients. Urban XCO2 gradients recorded by the OCO-2 instruments and MUCCnet are strongly correlated (R2 = 0.6752) with each other and have an RMSD of 0.32 ppm. A case study, which includes a comparison of one OCO-2 target overpass to WRF-GHG modeled XCO2, reveals a similar distribution of enhanced CO2 column abundances in Munich. In this study, we address OCO-2’s capability of detecting small-scale spatial XCO2 differences within one target observation. Our results suggest OCO-2’s potential of assessing anthropogenic emissions from space.

Maximilian Rißmann et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of amt-2022-71', Christopher O'Dell, 27 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-71', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 Jun 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on amt-2022-71', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Jun 2022

Maximilian Rißmann et al.

Data sets

OCO2_L2_Lite_FP OCO-2 Science Team/Michael Gunson, Annmarie Eldering (2020)

Maximilian Rißmann et al.


Total article views: 415 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
318 85 12 415 3 3
  • HTML: 318
  • PDF: 85
  • XML: 12
  • Total: 415
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 19 May 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 19 May 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 383 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 383 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 02 Jul 2022
Short summary
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) measures atmospheric concentrations of the most potent greenhouse gas CO2 globally. By comparing its measurements to a ground-based monitoring network in Munich (MUCCnet), we find that the satellite is able to reliably detect urban CO2 concentrations. Furthermore, spatial CO2 differences captured by OCO-2 and MUCCnet are strongly correlated, which indicates that OCO-2 could be helpful in determining urban CO2 emissions from space.