Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change. This paper quantifies the size of carbon dioxide flows between the land and the atmosphere in 1) a woodland at Alice Holt in Surrey, 2) a suburban site in Swindon and 3) an urban site in central London. The paper shows that annually, the urban site produced large CO2 emissions, whilst the woodland site absorbed CO2. It also explains that changes in sub-daily and seasonal CO2 emissions in urban and suburban areas can be directly explained by patterns of energy use in buildings and vehicle use.
In contrast, at the woodland site photosynthesis is the main factor affecting the amount of CO2 released. The paper is significant in presenting the size of the difference in CO2 emissions at urban, suburban and woodland sites and begins to quantify the major role that urban areas have in generating global CO2 emissions. It contributes to understanding of the role of land use processes in determining the amount of carbon dioxide which is gained or lost in different settings.
Ward, H.C., Kotthaus, S., Grimmond, C.S.B., Bjorkgren, A., Wilkinson, M., Morrison, W.T.J., Evans, J.G., Morison, J.I.L and Iamarino, M. (2015) Effects of urban density on carbon dioxide exchanges: observations of dense urban, suburban and woodland areas of southern England. Environmental Pollution 198 (2015) 186-200.