Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions independently

22.03.2016

Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation have developed a method to independently validate national statistics.

The signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol and the new Paris Agreement have committed to reduce global warming. The countries themselves use estimates and projections to verify whether they are actually achieving the necessary reduction in greenhouse gases.

The uncertainties are considerable and mistakes do happen. Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have developed a method to independently monitor these statistics by making direct measurements of the gases in the atmosphere (*).

Hardly any natural gas pipeline leaks

Researchers at Empa in Dübendorf, the University of Bern and ETH Zurich combined the data measured for methane (CH4) with a transport model for air pollutants in Switzerland. The result: The values for 2013 diverged only marginally from the figures published by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and confirmed the estimated annual emission of approximately 200,000 tonnes of methane.

The proportion of methane emissions caused by livestock farming, contributing the lion's share of 70 percent, was found to be somewhat lower than previously estimated. On the other hand, it was confirmed that gas pipeline leaks in Switzerland’s towns and cities were only a minor source of methane. The assumptions here had always been highly uncertain. Surprisingly, the volume of methane emissions in north-eastern Switzerland was higher than assumed.

“We are now planning a measurement campaign closer to the relevant areas to verify whether the difference is actually real,” says Dominik Brunner, atmospheric physicist and study leader at Empa.

For the model simulations, Brunner and his colleagues integrated data from two new measuring stations (installed specifically for the project) on the Lägeren mountain near Baden and on the former radio transmission tower at Beromünster (canton of Lucerne), as well as data from two more locations on the Swiss plateau. A small number of locations were sufficient for determining methane emissions in Switzerland since, thanks to the weather model of the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss), the intricate trajectories of air parcels can be traced back several days across to the Atlantic.

Widening the European monitoring network

“We have improved on the resolution of the inverse modelling already applied to larger areas such as the USA and scaled it to Switzerland's challenging topography,” remarks Stephan Henne, the first author of the study. The FOEN plans to publish the study as an annex to Switzerland’s latest greenhouse gas inventory on 15 April 2016. This makes Switzerland one of only three countries, including the UK and Australia, to publish an independent validation of its figures.

The project CarboCount-CH can be considered a pilot for the pan-European observation network “Integrated Carbon Observation System” (ICOS), which is currently being set up to monitor greenhouse gas emission at the European scale. Henne: “Our next CarboCount-CH project will be an investigation of carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake by vegetation.”

(*) S. Henne, D. Brunner, B. Oney, M. Leuenberger et al. (2015). Validation of the Swiss methane emission inventory by atmospheric observations and inverse modelling. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/acpd-15-35417-2015 (Open Access)

Project on the database P3 http://p3.snf.ch/project-136273

Contact details
Dr Dominik Brunner
Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology
Empa Dübendorf
Tel.: +41 58 765 4944
e-mail: dominik.brunner@empa.ch

The text of this press release is available on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation: www.snf.ch  > Research in Focus > Media > Press releases

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/Pages/news-160322-press-release-mo...

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm

24.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>