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Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VERIFY (Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2021-01-31

Most national governments, regional authorities and private stakeholders are increasing efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) responsible for climate change. Measuring the effectiveness of GHG emission reduction policies against agreed-upon international targets requires up-to-date accurate estimates of emissions and their trends based on transparent and internationally validated methods. VERIFY is working towards more accurately quantifying carbon stocks and the fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), emissions of methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) across the EU and in the US, China and Indonesia based on independent observations in support of inventories that rely only on statistical data. VERIFY’s goal to effectively separate GHG anthropogenic and natural components and their drivers is based on advanced modelling approaches using atmospheric GHG measurements, tracer transport inversions and various arrays of land observations, including both at the surface and remotely space. VERIFY improved knowledge of GHG budgets will be of practical use for policy and societal stakeholders to track progress of the EU mitigation efforts to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate. To reach these goals, VERIFY has developed four overall objectives: gather efforts from international stakeholders towards the definition of new GHG verification standards; enhance observation and modelling capabilities to quantify the sinks and sources of GHGs in the land-use sector; develop new research approaches to monitor anthropogenic GHG emissions; and regularly provide reliable syntheses of GHG balance and trends in Europe while also applying these methodologies to other countries.
During the first 36 months, all partners supported the key objectives of the VERIFY project through activities ranging from collaborative work ranging from model development, GHG flux estimations, and GHG flux synthesis while also including synergies between science and inventory communities. The main achievements are:
• Networking meetings between the research community and the national inventory compilers and active collaboration with international programs (contribution to the GHG synthesis of the Global Carbon Project, to WMO-IGIS initiatives, to COP related events, …).
• Process-based and statistical model simulations of terrestrial ecosystem CO2/CH4/N2O fluxes over Europe, at high spatial resolution for CO2 (~10 km over the last century).
• New atmospheric regional inversions for natural CO2/CH4/N2O fluxes (up to 2019 for CO2) and construction of a community inversion framework as the backbone of a transparent, internationally-shared future GHG monitoring system.
• New continental high-resolution maps (~6 km resolution) of anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and co-emitted species for Europe (up to 2019).
• Two inversion estimates of the annual CO, NOx and CO2 anthropogenic emissions in Western Europe based on satellite CO and NO2 data.
• Deployment of instruments and acquisition of new data, through both campaigns in the Rhine Valley and St Petersburg area, to study the correlation between anthropogenic CO2 and co-emitted species.
• First GHG flux synthesis over Europe for CO2, CH4 and N2O comparing the observation based estimates with the national inventories (including the creation of Factsheets synthesizing emissions).
• Construction of a framework to provide a yearly update of the GHG flux synthesis for all EU countries (covering the past two decades up to the previous year).
• Construction of a database to host VERIFY datasets and of a user-friendly visualization tool to explore recent trends in GHG fluxes.
• Analysis of the drivers of the EU GHG trends and contribution to the analysis of the COVID-19 related changes in anthropogenic GHG emissions.
VERIFY must be viewed in the general context of European initiatives around GHG monitoring and mitigation strategies including the Paris Agreement, the European Parliament's resolution on the use of space-based assets for monitoring GHG emissions trends, and the Copernicus framework for a European integrated observation system dedicated to the monitoring of fossil CO2 emissions. VERIFY seeks to provide new cornerstones for an international verification system with the development of a policy-relevant GHG monitoring system, including GHG flux estimation, synthesis and dissemination to programs and policy-makers. Towards these ambitious directions, there is a strong innovative potential supported by a consolidated consortium with the following targeted progresses:
• Advances in Data Assimilation System (DAS); combined Fossil Fuel – Biosphere DAS
• Improved spatial & temporal resolution for the mapping of anthropogenic GHG emissions
• Potential of co-emitted tracers for GHG emission estimates
• New assessment of the potential of recent or planned GHG satellite missions
• High-resolution (< 10 km) flux estimates for land ecosystem over Europe with comprehensive attribution of GHG budgets to the main drivers
• Comprehensive GHG budget for Europe including updated lateral fluxes, coastal fluxes
• New comprehensive assessment of all uncertainties associated to anthropogenic emission and biogenic fluxes at national level
Description of the project