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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article 03 Sep 2018

Research article | 03 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).

Estimating vehicle carbon dioxide emissions from Boulder, Colorado using horizontal path-integrated column measurements

Eleanor M. Waxman1, Kevin C. Cossel1, Fabrizio Giorgetta1, Gar-Wing Truong1,a, William C. Swann1, Ian Coddington1, and Nathan R. Newbury1 Eleanor M. Waxman et al.
  • 1Applied Physics Division, NIST Boulder
  • anow at: Crystalline Mirror Solutions


We performed seven and a half weeks of path-integrated concentration measurements of CO2, CH4, H2O, and HDO over the city of Boulder, Colorado. An open-path dual-comb spectrometer simultaneously measured time-resolved data across a reference path, located near the mountains to the west of the city, and across an over-city path that intersected two-thirds of the city, including two major commuter arteries. By comparing the measured concentrations over the two paths when the wind is primarily out of the west, we observe daytime CO2 enhancements over the city. We then use a Gaussian plume model to estimate city emissions of on-road CO2 as (6.9 ± 1.8) × 105 metric tons (MT) CO2/year, compared to the city bottom-up greenhouse gas inventory for the on-road vehicle sector of 4.5 × 105 MT CO2/year. The two values nearly agree to within the quoted uncertainty, which does not include additional systematic uncertainty associated in the temporal and spatial scaling of the given measurements to annual city-wide emissions. Finally, we discuss experimental modifications that could lead to improved estimates.

Eleanor M. Waxman et al.
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Eleanor M. Waxman et al.
Eleanor M. Waxman et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this work we measure carbon dioxide for the city of Boulder, Colorado using a novel laser-based instrument. We then use a model to determine the strength of the emissions from the city. Based on our measurement location, we attribute the majority of these emissions to vehicles. We compare our emissions to the city vehicle emissions inventory with good agreement.
In this work we measure carbon dioxide for the city of Boulder, Colorado using a novel...