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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-632
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-632
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Sep 2018

Research article | 24 Sep 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Carbon dioxide emissions in Northern China based on atmospheric observations from 2005 to 2009

Archana Dayalu1,2, J. William Munger1,2, Yuxuan Wang3,4, Steven C. Wofsy1,2, Yu Zhao5, Thomas Nehrkorn6, Chris Nielsen2, Michael B. McElroy2, and Rachel Chang7 Archana Dayalu et al.
  • 1Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 2School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
  • 4Department of Earth System Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 5School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 6Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington, MA, USA
  • 7Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

Abstract. China has pledged reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per unit GDP by 60–65% relative to 2005 levels, and to peak carbon emissions overall by 2030. However, disagreement among available inventories makes it difficult for China to track progress toward these goals and evaluate the efficacy of regional control measures. In this study, we evaluate three anthropogenic CO2 inventories by tracking the fidelity of predicted concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere to observations, focusing on the key commitment period for the Paris accords (2005) and the Beijing Olympics (2008). One inventory is China-specific and two are spatial subsets of global inventories. The inventories differ in spatial resolution, basis in national or subnational statistics, and reliance on global or China-specific emission factors. We use a unique set of historical atmospheric observations from 2005–2009 to evaluate the three CO2 emissions inventories within China's heavily industrialized and populated Northern region accounting for ~33–41% of national emissions. Each anthropogenic inventory is combined with estimates of biogenic CO2 within a high-resolution atmospheric transport framework to model the time series of CO2 observations. Model-observation mismatch in concentration units is translated to mass units and used to optimize the original inventories in the measurement influence region, largely corresponding to Northern China. Except for the peak growing season, where assessment of anthropogenic emissions is entangled with the strong vegetation signal, we find the China-specific inventory based on subnational data and domestic field-studies agrees significantly better with observations than the global inventories at all timescales. On average, over the study time period, the China-specific inventory has substantially larger (20%) emissions for all China than the global inventories. Our analysis uses observations to support and justify increased development of China-specific inventories in tracking China's progress towards reducing emissions. Here we are restricted to a single measurement site; effectively optimizing inventories at relevant spatial scales requires multiple high temporal resolution observations. We emphasize the need for a denser observational network in future efforts to measure and verify CO2 emissions for China both regionally and as a whole.

Archana Dayalu et al.
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Replication Data for: Carbon dioxide emissions in Northern China based on atmospheric observations from 2005 to 2009 A. Dayalu, J. W. Munger, Y. Wang, S. Wofsy, Y. Zhao, T. Nehrkorn, C. Nielsen, M. McElroy, and R. Y.-W. Chang https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/OJESO0

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Replication Data for: Carbon dioxide emissions in Northern China based on atmospheric observations from 2005 to 2009 A. Dayalu, J. W. Munger, Y. Wang, S. Wofsy, Y. Zhao, T. Nehrkorn, C. Nielsen, M. McElroy, and R. Y.-W. Chang https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/OJESO0

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Short summary
China has pledged reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per unit GDP by 60–65 % relative to 2005 levels, and to peak carbon emissions overall by 2030. Disagreement among available inventories of Chinese emissions makes it difficult for China to track progress toward its goals and evaluate the efficacy of regional control measures. This study uses a unique set of historical atmospheric observations for the key period from 2005–2009 to independently evaluate three different CO2 emissions estimates.
China has pledged reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per unit GDP by 60–65 % relative to 2005...
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