High‐resolution atmospheric inversion of urban CO2 emissions during the dormant season of the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX)

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Based on a uniquely dense network of surface towers measuring continuously the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), we developed the first comprehensive monitoring systems of CO2 emissions at high resolution over the city of Indianapolis. The urban inversion evaluated over the 2012–2013 dormant season showed a statistically significant increase of about 20% (from 4.5 to 5.7 MtC ± 0.23 MtC) compared to the Hestia CO2 emission estimate, a state‐of‐the‐art building‐level emission product. Spatial structures in prior emission errors, mostly undetermined, appeared to affect the spatial pattern in the inverse solution and the total carbon budget over the entire area by up to 15%, while the inverse solution remains fairly insensitive to the CO2 boundary inflow and to the different prior emissions (i.e., ODIAC). Preceding the surface emission optimization, we improved the atmospheric simulations using a meteorological data assimilation system also informing our Bayesian inversion system through updated observations error variances. Finally, we estimated the uncertainties associated with undetermined parameters using an ensemble of inversions. The total CO2 emissions based on the ensemble mean and quartiles (5.26–5.91 MtC) were statistically different compared to the prior total emissions (4.1 to 4.5 MtC). Considering the relatively small sensitivity to the different parameters, we conclude that atmospheric inversions are potentially able to constrain the carbon budget of the city, assuming sufficient data to measure the inflow of GHG over the city, but additional information on prior emission error structures are required to determine the spatial structures of urban emissions at high resolution.