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Urban eddy covariance measurements reveal significant missing NOx emissions in Central Europe

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  • T. Karl
  • M. Graus
  • M. Striednig
  • C. Lamprecht
  • A. Hammerle
  • G. Wohlfahrt
  • A. Held
  • L. von der Heyden
  • M. J. Deventer
  • A. Krismer
  • C. Haun
  • R. Feichter
  • J. Lee


Publication details

JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Apr 2017
DatePublished (current) - 30 May 2017
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Original languageEnglish


Nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution is emerging as a primary environmental concern across Europe. While some large European metropolitan areas are already in breach of EU safety limits for NO2, this phenomenon does not seem to be only restricted to large industrialized areas anymore. Many smaller scale populated agglomerations including their surrounding rural areas are seeing frequent NO2 concentration violations. The question of a quantitative understanding of different NOx emission sources is therefore of immanent relevance for climate and air chemistry models as well as air pollution management and health. Here we report simultaneous eddy covariance flux measurements of NOx, CO2, CO and non methane volatile organic compound tracers in a city that might be considered representative for Central Europe and the greater Alpine region. Our data show that NOx fluxes are largely at variance with modelled emission projections, suggesting an appreciable underestimation of the traffic related atmospheric NOx input in Europe, comparable to the weekend-weekday effect, which locally changes ozone production rates by 40%.

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© The Author(s) 2017

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