Researchers at Arizona State University and Purdue University announce a new tool to help policy makers target investments to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help the public understand the impact of their carbon footprint in the debate on global climate change.
The project -- called "Hestia" after the Greek goddess of hearth, architecture, and the place of home in relation to the state -- creates interactive maps of the quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with great detail. The maps can show the change in emissions from night to day, the balance of industrial versus residential emissions, and other information that can help visualize pathways towards CO2 reduction. Mapping of Indianapolis has been completed; Phoenix and Los Angeles are next in line on the way to mapping every major city in the USA.
The modelling, which creates the emissions indicators on the background of a city map, crunches data collected from building energy simulations, and reporting on traffic patterns, power production, and local air pollution measurements. Kevin Gurney, associate professor at ASU and a senior scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability sums up the value of the Hestia project:
Cities have had little information with which to guide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – and you can’t reduce what you can’t measure. With Hestia, we can provide cities with a complete, three-dimensional picture of where, when and how carbon dioxide emissions are occurring.
The research was published Oct. 9 in Environmental Science and Technology. The press release also notes: "Hestia is part of a larger effort that combines information about emissions with ground and satellite-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. It is now part of the INFLUX experiment in Indianapolis and is expected to complement NASA’s planned December 2013 launch of the Orbital Carbon Observatory satellite, which will measure the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere."