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Mapping our cities' CO2 emissions

Posting in Cities

We hear terms like "greenhouse gasses" and "carbon emissions" thrown around a lot, but like the climate change they relate to, the concepts are hard to visualize.

So a team of researchers at Arizona State University decided to paint us a picture of greenhouse gas emissions - literally. Using local air pollution reports, traffic counts, and individual building consumption data, the team has created a way to estimate and map out greenhouse gas emissions for entire cities - including roads and individual buildings.

The mapping system, known as "Hestia" - after the Greek goddess of hearth and home - can display a city's emissions on a map that shows hourly CO2 fluctuations. The project is outlined in an August 2012 issue of Environmental Science and Technology magazine. [See the pdf of the article]

"The system is general enough to be applied to any large U.S. city and holds tremendous potential as a key component of a carbon-monitoring system in addition to enabling ecient greenhouse gas mitigation and planning," said the project's authors.

So far, Hestia has been applied to the city of Indianapolis, with similar projects ongoing for both Phoenix and Los Angeles. The scientists would like to create CO2 maps for all major cities in the United States - which produces nearly one fourth of the world's CO2 emissions.

Photo: Arizona State University

via [Earth Techling]

— By on October 11, 2012, 8:00 PM PST

Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure