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Another CO2 measuring campaign during the night!

Our balloon team continues to cooperate with Environmental Physics researchers from AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. According to the agreement between the university and our company, once every month, vertical profile of CO2 concentration is measured. It is common knowledge that carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases – produced mostly by burning fossil fuels. Big cities, like Krakow, are substantial producers of aforementioned gas. This is why Krakow was chosen among many other cities to measure how the concentration changes over the 2021 year. Results of the research will be then used to validate high resolution models which purpose is to verify CO2 emmision in the whole Europe. The system is being developed within CoCO2 – fulfilled by consortium of 25 scientific subjects. ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), which is a leading forecasting organisation in Europe, is coordinating the whole project. The Centre has access to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and meteo data archives – used as input for most of the local weather forecasting models.

As a part of monthly campaign, scientists on board of our Balloon measure vertical profiles of CO2 concentration. The instrument they use, is highly precise, laser analyzer: Picarro G2311-f. Simultaneously, basic meteo data, such as temperature, humidity and wind speed, is collected. By the time of this writing, there has been already 3 campaings like this. Results collected until now show, that on sunny days, when convection is stimulated, the vertical profiles display constant concentration (fig. 1).

Figure 1: vertical profiles of: CO2 (left) and CH4 (right) – obtained during the day

On the other hand, in the night when the ground surface is colder, which causes temperature invertion in the atmosphere, concentration grows near the ground level (fig. 2).

Figure 2: vertical profile of: CO2 (left) and CH4 (right) – obtained during the day.

The thickness of the layer containing higher concentration increases to the point, in which after a sunrise convection starts to mix the air again. This stage is presented below on the profiles (fig. 3).

Figure 3: vertical profiles of: CO2 (left) and CH4 (right) – obtained right after sunrise.

Concurrently to measurments taken on board the balloon, carbon isotopic composition in CO2, which will allow to separate natural carbon dioxide from the one of the burnign fossil fuels origin.

Author: dr hab. inż. Mirosław Zimnoch, prof. AGH
Environmental Physics team WFiIS AGH