Urban areas have been identified as one of the key contributors to increasing global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, yet our current understanding of the urban sources and potential sinks of CO2 remains relatively limited. A new urban monitoring site, only one of a handful of such sites internationally, has been established by researchers from NUI Maynooth, DIT, UCD and LiCOR Biosciences to further understand the complex relationship between urban areas and global climate change. The site, which is located in the heart of Dublin city, will measure CO2 at a rate of 10 times per second and will provide a ‘fingerprint’ of human activity in the city.
Preliminary findings from Stephanie Keogh, a Hume Scholar at NUI Maynooth, have demonstrated that large peaks in CO2 can be seen in the morning time, coinciding with the morning rush hour; this pattern is less evident at weekends when traffic flow is reduced. She further illustrated that CO2 levels tend to be lower in summer as a result of “benign weather conditions” and lower fuel consumption, but higher in winter due to heating demands and reduced “carbon storage capacity” in trees.
Dr. Rowan Fealy, from the Department of Geography at NUI Maynooth, speaking at the launch of the monitoring site said “this site will not alone enable us to examine the influence of climate change on cities, but critically, the influence of cities on climate change”. According to Dr Fealy, long term datasets from sites such as this one will be important for parameterising and validating urban climate models worldwide, in addition to providing urban dwellers and policy makers with local-scale, high-resolution climate information.
Ends. 13 August 2012
For more information please contact:
Deirdre Watters, NUI Maynooth Communications, +353 1 708 6735