A Mobile Sensor Network to Map CO2 in Urban Environments

Friday, 19 December 2014
Joseph Lee1, Andreas Christen1, Zoran Nesic1,2 and Rick Ketler1, (1)University of British Columbia, Geography, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)University of British Columbia, Biometeorology Group, Faculty Land and Food Systems, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Globally, an estimated 80% of all fuel-based CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are attributable to cities, but there is still a lack of tools to map, visualize and monitor emissions to the scales at which emissions reduction strategies can be implemented - the local and urban scale. Mobile CO2 sensors, such as those attached to taxis and other existing mobile platforms, may be a promising way to observe and map CO2 mixing ratios across heterogenous urban environments with a limited number of sensors. Emerging modular open source technologies, and inexpensive compact sensor components not only enable rapid prototyping and replication, but also are allowing for the miniaturization and mobilization of traditionally fixed sensor networks. We aim to optimize the methods and technologies for monitoring CO2 in cities using a network of CO2 sensors deployable on vehicles and bikes. Our sensor technology is contained in a compact weather-proof case (35.8cm x 27.8cm x 11.8cm), powered independently by battery or by car, and includes the Li-Cor Li-820 infrared gas analyzer (Licor Inc, lincoln, NB, USA), Arduino Mega microcontroller (Arduino CC, Italy) and Adafruit GPS (Adafruit Technologies, NY, USA), and digital air temperature thermometer which measure CO2 mixing ratios (ppm), geolocation and speed, pressure and temperature, respectively at 1-second intervals. With the deployment of our sensor technology, we will determine if such a semi-autonomous mobile approach to monitoring CO2 in cities can determine excess urban CO2 mixing ratios (i.e. the ’urban CO2 dome’) when compared to values measured at a fixed, remote background site. We present results from a pilot study in Vancouver, BC, where the a network of our new sensors was deployed both in fixed network and in a mobile campaign and examine the spatial biases of the two methods.