Estimating source regions of European emissions of trace gases from observations at Mace Head

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Atmospheric Environment, Volume 35, Issue 14, p.2507 - 2523 (2001)





European emissions, Greenhouse gases, Inversion techniques, Lagrangian dispersion model, Ozone depleting gases


A technique is described for identifying probable source locations for a range of greenhouse and ozone-depleting trace gases from the long-term measurements made at Mace Head, Ireland. The Met. Office's dispersion model NAME is used to predict concentrations at Mace Head from all possible sources in Europe, then source regions identified as those which consistently lead to elevated concentrations at Mace Head. Estimates of European emissions and their distribution are presented for a number of trace gases for the period 1995–1998. Estimated emission patterns are realistic, given the nature and varied applications of the species considered. The results indicate that whilst there are limitations, useful information about source distribution can be extracted from continuous measurements at a remote site. It is probable that much improved estimates could be derived if observations were available from a number of sites. The ability to assess emissions has obvious implications in monitoring compliance with internationally agreed quota and protocols.