Monitoring Energy and Carbon Fluxes in a Mediterranean City
Abstract:Cities and the surrounding areas play an important role in altering and/or contributing to the natural processes of the Earth system. Specifically, cities affect the amount and partitioning of energy fluxes, as well as the carbon budget. It is recognized that increased greenhouse gases (GHG) concentration (mainly carbon dioxide) and air temperature values are typically experienced by cities, due to their structural and morphological characteristics and to human activities in urban areas (such as traffic, domestic heating/cooling, etc.). This will impact the urban climate.
Reducing the impact of urbanization on climate requires the knowledge of the interactions and links between human activities and the land-atmosphere system. Each city has different characteristics and conditions, so planning strategies helping in reducing carbon emissions should take into account local features. In this contest, monitoring activities are crucial to study the exchange of energy, water, and carbon over the city, evaluate their impact on human livability, and understand the role of the city on climate.
A research activity is carried out in the Mediterranean city of Sassari, in the North of Sardinia island (Italy) to monitor urban fluxes and distinguish the main sources of GHG emissions, which could help the municipality to identify possible actions for reducing them.
An Eddy Covariance tower was set up in the city center to directly monitor energy and carbon exchanges at half-hourly time step. Even if the measurement period only consists of few months, the daily trend of urban fluxes clearly shows that traffic is one of the main carbon emission sources, while the contribution of vegetation in sequestering carbon is low due to the reduced amount of green areas in the measurements footprint (< 20%). In addition, differences between working days and holiday periods can be distinguished.