Exploiting OMI NO2 satellite observations to infer fossil-fuel CO2 emissions from US megacities.


Goldberg DL, Lu Z, Oda T, Lamsal LN, Liu F, Griffin D, McLinden CA, Krotkov NA, Duncan BN, Streets DG. Exploiting OMI NO2 satellite observations to infer fossil-fuel CO2 emissions from US megacities. Science of the Total Environment 2019;695:133805.


Fossil-fuel CO2 emissions and their trends in eight U.S. megacities during 2006-2017 are inferred by combining satellite-derived NOX emissions with bottom-up city-specific NOX-to-CO2 emission ratios. A statistical model is fit to a collection NO2 plumes observed from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), and is used to calculate top-down NOX emissions. Decreases in OMI-derived NOX emissions are observed across the eight cities from 2006 to 2017 (-17% in Miami to -58% in Los Angeles), and are generally consistent with long-term trends of bottom-up inventories (-25% in Miami to -49% in Los Angeles), but there are some interannual discrepancies. City-specific NOX-to-CO2 emission ratios, used to calculate inferred CO2, are estimated through annual bottom-up inventories of NOX and CO2 emissions disaggregated to 1 × 1 km2 resolution. Over the study period, NOX-to-CO2 emission ratios have decreased by ~40% nationwide (-24% to -51% for our studied cities), which is attributed to a faster reduction in NOX when compared to CO2 due to policy regulations and fuel type shifts. Combining top-down NOX emissions and bottom-up NOX-to-CO2 emission ratios, annual fossil-fuel CO2 emissions are derived. Inferred OMI-based top-down CO2 emissions trends vary between +7% in Dallas to -31% in Phoenix. For 2017, we report annual fossil-fuel CO2 emissions to be: Los Angeles 113 ± 49 Tg/yr; New York City 144 ± 62 Tg/yr; and Chicago 55 ± 24 Tg/yr. A study in the Los Angeles area, using independent methods, reported a 2013-2016 average CO2 emissions rate of 104 Tg/yr and 120 Tg/yr, which suggests that the CO2 emissions from our method are in good agreement with other studies' top-down estimates. We anticipate future remote sensing instruments - with better spatial and temporal resolution - will better constrain the NOX-to-CO2 ratio and reduce the uncertainty in our method.