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Improving the verification of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by the Rn-222 tracer method

English title Improving the verification of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by the Rn-222 tracer method
Applicant Conen Franz
Number 117622
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Departement für Geowissenschaften Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.02.2008 - 31.01.2011
Approved amount 182'935.00
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Keywords (9)

Greenhouse gases; halocarbons; emission verification; climate change; N2O; CH4; SF6; halocarbon; radon

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Non-CO2 greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O, SF6, halocarbons) are responsible for 37 % of the anthropogenic contribution to global warming. Some of these gases (N2O, SF6, chlorinated and brominated halocarbons) are in addition destructive to the stratospheric ozone layer. Regional emission estimates of non-CO2 greenhouse gases are currently much more uncertain than for CO2. Mostly, they are based on ‘bottom-up’ approaches relying on inventories of known sources and expected emission functions. The 222Rn flux map of Europe produced in the preceding project permits today a more reliable real-world assessment by the 222Rn tracer method, a so-called ‘top-down’ approach. In previous studies, source strength of 222Rn has been a major uncertainty. Substantial reduction of uncertainty has been achieved so far and further improvements are aimed for in the present project. Future improvements include in particular a better temporal resolution of the 222Rn flux map. Current developments within the EU-driven European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP) open the possibility for quasi real-time updates of the European 222Rn source term. The source strength of 222Rn is a key parameter for estimating the source strength of any gas of interest, based on concentration differences observed in the atmospheric boundary layer over time in both, the gas of interest and 222Rn. There are two ways to obtain concentration differences over time. One is during pollution events at otherwise remote ‘background’ stations. This approach is followed in an associated project at Jungfraujoch (main applicant: Stefan Reimann, EMPA), where we will contribute the 222Rn related parameters. The other approach is to obtain concentration differences during changes in mixing layer height as observed during nocturnal inversions. This aproach will be applied to the measurement of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in the central part of Eastern Europe (Hungary). Emissions from this region just east of the Alpine Ridge are highly uncertain and can not be detected at Jungfraujoch using the first approach.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
105123 European Rn-222 flux map for atmospheric tracer applications 01.12.2004 Project funding
140228 Biological ice nucleators at tropospheric cloud height 01.09.2012 Project funding