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Residential carbon dioxide emissions at the urban scale for county-level cities in China: A comparative study of nighttime light data

Zhao, Jincai, Chen, Yulong, Ji, Guangxing, Wang, Zheng
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.180 pp. 198-209
carbon, carbon dioxide, cities, climate, emissions, energy, geometry, heat, image analysis, models, radiometry, satellites, urban areas, China
Carbon emissions from residential energy consumption in urban areas play a pivotal role in meeting emission targets. It is more beneficial to decomposing the emission reduction target to subnational units. This study aims to map urban residential carbon emissions at a finer spatial resolution to offer reference to disaggregating the carbon-reduction targets down to each sub-unit. With the launch of Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, the day-night band of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard represents a major advancement compared with Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) in terms of radiometric accuracy, spatial resolution and geometric quality. Therefore, the useful proxy was utilized to model the spatial distribution of residential carbon emissions at the urban scale for county-level cities in China. Firstly, the dynamic optimal threshold method was used to extract urban built-up areas based on NPP-VIIRS data and the statistical data. Secondly, comparison was conducted between the NPP-VIIRS data and both original and saturation-corrected DMSP-OLS data to explore the performance of NPP-VIIRS data. Finally, the spatial characteristics were analyzed in detail at the regional, provincial and prefectural level, respectively. The results show that the NPP-VIIRS data performed better in both statistic regression and spatial comparison. The spatial patterns indicated that there was an obvious north-south differentiation, especially the carbon emission density (defined as carbon emissions per grid), which was significantly higher in Northeastern China than that of other regions. The climate elements positively contributed to the increase of carbon emissions in residential sector, especially stimulating emissions related to building heating.