Influence of topography on the Phoenix CO2 dome: A computational study

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Recent measurements reveal that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the urban core of Phoenix, Arizona, are often 200 ppmv above the surrounding areas. This increase is up to two orders of magnitude higher than comparable values in other cities. In this investigation, we examine the role of topographically induced circulation as a contributor to the CO2 dome. A three-dimensional time-dependent regional model shows that frequently occurring katabatic winds generate a mesoscale circulation in Phoenix conducive to the accumulation of CO2 in the center of the city. We conclude that local topography and associated circulation regimes are important in understanding the high levels of CO2 in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalAtmospheric Science Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • CO dome
  • Complex terrain
  • Mesoscale model
  • Nested grid
  • Ozone study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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