On the impact of granularity of space-based urban CO2 emissions in urban atmospheric inversions: A case study for Indianapolis, IN

Tomohiro Oda, Thomas Lauvaux, Dengsheng Lu, Preeti Rao, Natasha L. Miles, Scott J. Richardson, Kevin R. Gurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cities is a key challenge towards effective emissions management. An inversion analysis from the Indianapolis FLUX experiment (INFLUX) project, as the first of its kind, has achieved a top-down emission estimate for a single city using CO2 data collected by the dense tower network deployed across the city. However, city-level emission data, used as a priori emissions, are also a key component in the atmospheric inversion framework. Currently, fine-grained emission inventories (EIs) able to resolve GHG city emissions at high spatial resolution, are only available for few major cities across the globe. Following the INFLUX inversion case with a global 1 × 1 km ODIAC fossil fuel CO2 emission dataset, we further improved the ODIAC emission field and examined its utility as a prior for the city scale inversion. We disaggregated the 1 × 1 km ODIAC non-point source emissions using geospatial datasets such as the global road network data and satellite-data driven surface imperviousness data to a 30 × 30 m resolution. We assessed the impact of the improved emission field on the inversion result, relative to priors in previous studies (Hestia and ODIAC). The posterior total emission estimate (5.1 MtC/yr) remains statistically similar to the previous estimate with ODIAC (5.3 MtC/yr). However, the distribution of the flux corrections was very close to those of Hestia inversion and the model-observation mismatches were significantly reduced both in forward and inverse runs, even without hourly temporal changes in emissions. EIs reported by cities often do not have estimates of spatial extents. Thus, emission disaggregation is a required step when verifying those reported emissions using atmospheric models. Our approach offers gridded emission estimates for global cities that could serves as a prior for inversion, even without locally reported EIs in a systematic way to support city-level Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) practice implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric inversion
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Emission inventory
  • Geospatial data
  • Urban emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science


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