Improving UK greenhouse gas emission estimates using tall tower observations
Howie, James Edward
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Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere play an important role in regulating surface temperatures. The UK is signatory to international agreements that legally commit the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and there is a scientific and political need to better understand greenhouse gas sources on regional scales. The current methods used to provide greenhouse gas emission inventories rely on ‘bottom-up’ techniques and have large associated errors. However, it is also possible to use observations of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and models of atmospheric transport to link the observations with source regions in order to estimate emissions in a ‘top-down’ approach. The key findings presented in this thesis are (a) UK emissions can be retrieved from the Angus tall tower in Scotland using the NAME inversion technique at a finer spatial resolution than has previously been reported using similar ‘top-down’ inverse methods; (b) atmospheric measurements from the Angus tall tower in Scotland have been used for the first time with the NAME inversion technique in order to estimate UK emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride for the years 2006 to 2009; (c) increasing the number of towers in UK network substantially increases the spatial resolution of greenhouse gas emission estimates. The errors and uncertainties associated with the NAME inversion over the UK domain are discussed and potential future improvements to this approach are presented. Overall, the work presented in this thesis has contributed to our understanding of the spatial and inter-annual variability of UK greenhouse gas emissions.