In situ observations of Greenhouse Gases at Carnsore Point

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Resource or Project Abstract

Monitoring of atmospheric concentrations of gases is important in assessing the impact of international policies related to the atmospheric environment. The effects of control measures on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and HCFCs introduced under the 'Montreal Protocol of Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer' are now being observed. Continued monitoring is required to assess the overall success of the Protocol and the implication for atmospheric levels of replacement compounds such as HFCs. Similar analysis of gases regulated by the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases will likewise assist policy makers. Since 1987, high-frequency, real time measurements of the principal halocarbons and radiatively active trace gases have been made as part of the Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (GAGE) and Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) at Mace Head, County Galway, Ireland. For much of the time, the measurement station, which is situated on the Atlantic coast, monitors clean westerly air that has travelled across the North Atlantic Ocean. However, when the winds are easterly, Mace Head receives substantial regional scale pollution in air that has travelled from the industrial regions of Europe. The site is therefore uniquely situated to record trace gas concentrations associated with both the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere background levels and with the more polluted air arising from Europe. From late 2005 a sister site has been established on the east coast of Ireland at Carnsore Point. Combining the information from both sites gives a much clearer distinction of Irish and to a lesser extent UK emissions from the rest of Europe. The Met Office?s Lagrangian atmospheric dispersion model, NAME (Numerical Atmospheric dispersion Modelling Environment), has been run for each 3-hour period of each year so as to understand the origin of the air arriving at Mace Head and Carnsore Point at the time of each observation. By identifying when the air is unpolluted, i.e. when the air has travelled across the Atlantic and the air concentration reflects the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere baseline value, the data collected at Mace Head have been used to estimate baseline concentrations, trends and seasonal cycles of a wide range of ozone-depleting and greenhouse gases for the period 1995-2010 inclusive. By removing the underlying baseline trends from the observations and by modelling where the air originated from on a regional scale, estimates of Irish, UK, UK+Irish and North West European (UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) emissions and their geographical distributions have been made. The estimates have been made using the NAME-inversion method. The estimates are presented as yearly averages and are compared to UNFCCC inventories where available.
The atmospheric measurements and emission estimates of greenhouse gases provide an important cross-check for the emissions inventories submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This verification work is consistent with good practice guidance issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr Simon O'Doherty
University of Bristol
Reader
1-9 Old Park Hill, Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TS, England
Telephone: +44 (0)117 928 9186
e-mail: S.ODoherty@bristol.ac.uk

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    CCRP_13_ODoherty_GHGCarnsore-prn.pdf  (7.77 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    CCRP_13_ODoherty_GHGCarnsore-web.pdf  (5.3 Mb)

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Author(s)O'Doherty, S.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationIn situ observations of Greenhouse Gases at Carnsore Point
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=ed6e4d90-2bbc-11e1-ad3d-005056ae0019
Unique Identifiered6e4d90-2bbc-11e1-ad3d-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-03-29

An example of this citation in proper usage:

O'Doherty, S.   "In situ observations of Greenhouse Gases at Carnsore Point". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=ed6e4d90-2bbc-11e1-ad3d-005056ae0019 (Last Accessed: 2017-03-29)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=255
Resource KeywordsGreenhouse Gases Carnsore
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code07-CCRP-1.1.5a
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeClimate Change
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Monday 1st January 2007 (01-01-2007)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st January 2007 (01-01-2007)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 1st December 2010 (01-12-2010)
Published on SAFERWednesday 21st December 2011 (21-12-2011)
Date of Last EditWednesday 21st December 2011 at 10:21:30 (21-12-2011)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 21st December 2011 at 10:21:30 (21-12-2011)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The University of Bristol (UoB) mobile laboratory was situated at Carnsore Point during 2005-06 as part of a funded 1-year feasibility study investigating emissions from the Republic of Ireland for halogenated hydrocarbon species including Montreal and Kyoto regulated gases. Unfunded measurements were also obtained for 2007 beyond the term of the initial contract. The current study, starting in January of 2008, continued this investigation for a further 3 years.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Since 1987, high-frequency, real time measurements of the principal halocarbons and radiatively active trace gases have been made as part of the Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (GAGE) and Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) at Mace Head, County Galway, Ireland. For much of the time, the measurement station, which is situated on the Atlantic coast, monitors clean westerly air that has travelled across the North Atlantic Ocean. However, when the winds are easterly, Mace Head receives substantial regional scale pollution in air that has travelled from the industrial regions of Europe. The site is therefore uniquely situated to record trace gas concentrations associated with both the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere background levels and with the more polluted air arising from Europe. From late 2005 a sister site has been established on the east coast of Ireland at Carnsore Point. Combining the information from both sites gives a much clearer distinction of Irish and to a lesser extent UK emissions from the rest of Europe.
Supplementary Information
The first part of the report considers the Northern Hemisphere baseline trends, growth rates and seasonal cycles of 14 trace gases that have been measured at both the Carnsore Point and Mace Head observing stations. The HCFC gases regulated under the Montreal Protocol are still increasing but their rate of growth is slowing. HFC-125 and -134a are both growing strongly reflecting their use as replacement gases for CFC and HCFC gases, in applications such as air conditioning and refrigeration, mainly mobile air conditioning in cars for HFC-134a HFC-152a had been increasing but recently its growth rate has declined to almost zero. The solvent methylene dichloride (CH2Cl2) has been increasing since 2006 but the other solvents, TCE and PCE, are both declining in the atmosphere. Both methyl bromide and halon-1211 are now declining.
The second part of the report considers the use of inversion modelling to estimate regional emissions of the same 14 trace gases. Estimates are made for Ireland, the UK, Ireland+UK combined and North West Europe (Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark). The temporal and horizontal resolutions of the inversion output were increased when observations from both observing sites were included. Including the Carnsore Point data gave greater clarity to the geographical distribution of the Irish emissions and, because of the shorter time-window of the inversion solutions, recent changes in emissions show up faster when a combined data set is used, e.g. HFC-134a. However the work also demonstrated the importance of strongly inter-calibrated, inter-comparable observations across the network.
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