Long-term urban carbon dioxide observations reveal spatial and temporal dynamics related to urban characteristics and growth

Long-term urban carbon dioxide observations reveal spatial and temporal dynamics related to urban characteristics and growth

"Here we present a unique long-term (decadal) record of CO2 mole fractions from five sites across Utah’s metropolitan Salt Lake Valley. Four state-of-the-art global-scale emission inventories also have a nonlinear relationship with population density across the city; however, in contrast to our observations, they all have nearly constant emissions over time. Our results indicate that decadal scale changes in urban CO2 emissions are detectable through monitoring networks and constitute a valuable approach to evaluate emission inventories and studies of urban carbon cycles."

Key findings

"Divergent CO2 emission trends were detected despite similar levels of population growth and thus, changes in urban fossil fuel CO2 emissions likely did not scale linearly with population changes."

"Trends in the northern, industrial part of the SLV declined coincident with a reduction in power production by a nearby electric utility power plant, representing a possible explanation for the decline and highlighting the importance of large urban point sources."

"The divergent trends contribute to a nonlinear relationship between population density and CO2 emissions."

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