Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions (GAUGE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

To minimize the risk of dangerous climate change associated with increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG), as part of ongoing international efforts, the 2008 Climate Change Act requires that the UK reduces its GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. To support such legislation, methods must be developed to reduce uncertainty on existing national GHG emissions estimates and monitor the efficacy of emissions reduction strategies. In 2010, CO2 represented about 85% of total UK GHG emissions, with the remainder largely from methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In 2010, the main UK sources of CO2 were energy supply, road transport, business, and residential; the main sources of CH4 were agriculture and landfill with small sources from gas leakage and coal mines; and the main sources of N2O were agriculture, industrial process, and road transport. There are substantial associated uncertainties with sectoral estimates of these emissions, particularly for N2O.

The main focus of Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions (GAUGE) is to quantify UK budgets of CO2, CH4, and N2O from different sectors, and to improve global GHG budgets. The UK study will focus on fossil fuels and agriculture, the two largest sources of the three GHGs. We will achieve this by combining atmospheric measurements with computer models of the atmosphere, which describe the movement of GHGs after emission. We already have a reasonable idea of where GHGs are emitted but the size of the emissions typically has a large associated error. Depending on the emission type it may also have a substantial seasonal cycle (e.g., agriculture). It is therefore important we make regular GHG measurements at different times of the year and in different places. The UK research aircraft will provide the broad-scale 3-D perspective on the inflow and outflow of UK GHG budgets, complementing information from existing tall towers. The network of tall towers measure GHGs at 100-200m above the surface to ensure that the sampled air is representative of larger areas, and the towers are intentionally sited to provide estimates of GHG emissions in the Devolved Administrations. As part of GAUGE we will add to this network with a tower in the Scottish borders that provides substantially more information about the north of England, Scotland, and the North Sea; a tower over SE England, downwind of London; and we will support existing instruments on the BT tower in central London. The SE London tower and the BT tower together will allow us to provide the first multi-year record of urban emissions from a megacity. We will use GHG isotopes to improve understanding of the fossil fuel sources. A detailed study of agricultural GHG emissions will be conducted over East Anglia, allowing us to quantify the importance of this sector in the UK GHG budget. Weekly measurements aboard a North Sea ferry will provide constraints on UK GHG fluxes by regularly sampling transects of UK outflow. Satellite observations of GHGs offer a unique global perspective, linking UK emissions to the rest of the world, and we will work with NASA to develop and apply new observations to quantify global GHG budgets on a sub-UK spatial scale. Embedded in this long-term measurement strategy will be a measurement intensive to quantify London GHG emissions, where we will use the UK research aircraft to sample profiles of upwind/downwind air, validate dedicated satellite observations, and link urban measurements with downwind in situ and tall tower measurements.

In GAUGE we bring together computer models of the atmosphere, and a team of world-leading modellers, in order to relate observed variations of GHGs to estimates of the underlying emissions. Statistical approaches will be used to find emissions that best agree with the measurements, taking account of model and data uncertainties. The main outcome from GAUGE will be robust GHG emission estimates from the UK and from the world.

Planned Impact

Policy makers, atmospheric scientists, educational professionals, and the wider general public are among the long-term beneficiaries of GAUGE research. The intertwined science and policy questions associated with Deliverable A focus on quantifying the magnitude and uncertainty of UK and global GHG emissions and sinks. Our science will inform international assessment activities and will be of direct interest to ongoing international research activities (e.g., MACC-II and follow-on, ICOS, InGOS) and UK government departments, particularly DECC and Defra. More broadly, timely delivery of these emission estimates has implications for current UK legislation and nationwide commitments to international emission protocols. We will engage with MACC-II, DECC, Defra, and other potential stakeholders (e.g., private industry) by formal (GAUGE science team) and informal meetings.

We are fortunate that the general public already has some understanding of GHGs, which we will build on with a range of outreach activities using knowledge exchange professionals that already exist with our universities. First, we will establish an online presence, which can be done relatively quickly, with an outward-looking website and its centre. Downloadable educational material, in conjunction with material already available via other sites (e.g., DECC, NOAA, Global Carbon Project), will be available on the GAUGE site. This material will be aimed at secondary school kids, educators, and the wider general public. We will endeavour to make the GAUGE site current by including, for example, updated streams of data from the tall tower network. As the project progresses we anticipate running student projects some of which can write software to allow simple online data analysis (e.g., using HTML5). Past projects have identified the effectiveness of podcasting and we will work with NERC and our universities to organize these - with the breadth and depth of GAUGE activities there should be no shortage of material. GAUGE team members will also develop displays for international science festivals (e.g., Edinburgh) to advertise NERC-funded science, and for museums (e.g., Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh). We will also directly speak to the media.

GAUGE will provide career development for PhD students and PDRAs by involving them in the planning and implementation of field campaigns (including effective deployment of aircraft), presentations of results at project meetings, and national and international conferences, and writing peer-review publications. They will be encouraged to explore measurement and modelling opportunities that will exist within GAUGE, providing them with a well-rounded research experience. We will also engage talented undergraduates through funding tractable and useful summer 10-week projects associated with GAUGE activities, giving them valuable research experience in order to secure PhD placements. This worked extremely well during BORTAS, for instance, funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

We will engage with the academic science community via the usual routes. We will hold regular science team meetings, which will include a half-day when we will engage with stakeholders. From a UK perspective, we will have a presence at NCAS and NCEO science team meetings, and will engage with the Royal Meteorological Society conferences. From an international perspective, we we will attend EGU, AGU, the CO2 conference (June 2013, China), and have a presence on a very large number of international bodies and activities.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Parker R (2015) Assessing 5 years of GOSAT Proxy XCH<sub>4</sub> data and associated uncertainties in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions

 
Description In this grant, we have used a new in-situ instrument (Ecotech in-situ FTS) along-side established in-situ measurement techniques and we could show via intercalibration that this instrument provides consistent data while allowing to measure simultaneously multiple trace gases (eg CO2, CH4, CO and N2O). Thus, this an interesting alternative to the commonly used instruments.

In addition, to the deployment of the instrument in a Church in East Anglia as part of a network aimed at agricultural emissions, we have used the instrument as part of a campaign aimed at measuring methane emission from a landfill site. Here, we could demonstrate a new method that provides spatial information on the emissions by combining measurements from the in-situ FTS with high-resolution CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling.

We have developed methods to test model calculation against total column (from the GOSAT satellite) and free troposphere (from the IASI satellite) methane data.
Exploitation Route Our work for Gauge provides relevant information for the in-situ community interested in greenhouse gas instrumentation and measurement techniques and the instrument could well be established as a contribution to longer-term observing network.

The work on land fill emissions is novel and is worth following up with further measurement activities focused on emissions from land fill but also other methane emission sources (eg waste water treatment). Many of these emission sources are poorly characterized and this has the potential for providing new insights.

The coarse sampling of current satellite missions has required us to focus on the European domain instead of UK. New and upcoming missions provide much improved sampling and coverage and it should be possible to aim at UK greenhouse gas fluxes for future projects
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

 
Description We have participated in a activity to quantify methane emissions from a landfill site (Viridor Waste Management, Great Blakenham) working directly with the landfill operator. A main aim of the activity was to inter compare and test different methods for estimating emission from a landfill site which will provide relevant information to scientists as well as operators. Our measurements at Glatton are part of a regional network aimed at measuring agricultural emission in East Anglia which supports the reporting work of Defra.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment
Impact Types Societal

 
Description CO2 Human Emission
Amount € 3,765,190 (EUR)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description Detection and Attribution of Regional greenhouse gas Emissions in the UK (DARE-UK)
Amount £200,586 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S003746/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 03/2023
 
Description The Global Methane Budget
Amount £178,856 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/N015681/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 04/2020
 
Description Towards an integrated approach for assessing the impact of climatic stresses on the IGP
Amount £17,789,413 (GBP)
Organisation UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 04/2020
 
Title Glatton in situ FTS 
Description Calibrated in-situ observations for CO2, CH4, CO and N2O from Glatton, Cambridgeshire 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This dataset is part of a network of stations in South-East England which is used to constrain agricultural emissions. 
 
Description Thermal Infrared Radiometric Calibration 
Organisation Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency
Country Japan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution In collaboration with University of Wisconsin, we have characterized the radiometric calibration of the GOASt satelltie mission in support of the efforts by the JAXA team on correction radiometric artifacts in the measurements which have prevent robust methane retrievals.
Collaborator Contribution University of Wisconsin have provided on the methods and JAXA have helped with the testing and plan to implement the tested methods for their calibration of the GOSAT spectra.
Impact The collaboration has led to a better understanding of the calibration of GOSAT which has led to improvements in the methane retrievals from the thermal IR channels.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Thermal Infrared Radiometric Calibration 
Organisation University of Wisconsin-Madison
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In collaboration with University of Wisconsin, we have characterized the radiometric calibration of the GOASt satelltie mission in support of the efforts by the JAXA team on correction radiometric artifacts in the measurements which have prevent robust methane retrievals.
Collaborator Contribution University of Wisconsin have provided on the methods and JAXA have helped with the testing and plan to implement the tested methods for their calibration of the GOSAT spectra.
Impact The collaboration has led to a better understanding of the calibration of GOSAT which has led to improvements in the methane retrievals from the thermal IR channels.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GHG Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lectures and workshop on Earth Observation to a diverse group of post-graduate students with an interest in carbon cycle science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Greenhouse Gas Research in the UK: Developing a National Strategy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The purpose of this community meeting was to exchange ideas and identify concrete key needs for future UK GHG research, and to explore opportunities and developments in related national and international activities. The main result from the meeting and subsequent discussions is a strategy document for future Strategic Programmes and National Capabilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.greenhouse-gases.org.uk/events/ghg-strategy-meeting-leeds-10-11-jan-2017
 
Description Key note presenation at The International Workshop on Next Generation CO2 Monitoring Satellite Constellation in Shanghai 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop was aimed at discussing the needs for monitoring carbon emissions to help prevent damaing levels of greenhouse gases. The workshop was attended by a large number of postgraduate students and your researchers and has sparked many interesting discussions. The workshop is also expected to help guiding future plan by China for a space-based CO2 monitoring concepts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Live from a landfill - Planet Earth Article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An Article in NERCs Planet Earth Magazine on the field campaign at the landfill site during GAUGE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Greenhouse gas Summer School at Edinburgh.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Understanding the European Greenhouse Gas Budget: Towards supporting COP21 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Meeting organised by the NERC Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Feedback Programme at the Royal Society to review the current state of art of UK greenhouse gas research and monitoring, following recent and ongoing nationwide activities, and discusses key priorities and opportunities for the future. A main aim of the meeting was to provide a forum to connect the UK research community with relevant parties from government, industry and other stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.greenhouse-gases.org.uk/events/understanding-european-ghg-budget-royal-society-8-9-mar-20...