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The Urban CO2 Dome of Kuwait City, Kuwait
Nasrallah, H.A., Balling Jr., R.C., Madi, S.M. and Al-Ansari, L.  2003.  Temporal variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations in Kuwait City, Kuwait with comparisons to Phoenix, Arizona, USA.  Environmental Pollution 121: 301-305.

What was done
The authors analyzed measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and ancillary meteorological data that had been made at a stationary site in the Al-Jahra suburb of Kuwait City, Kuwait at hourly intervals from 17 June 1996 to the time of the writing of their paper (31 May 2001).  Their objective was to compare their results with those of similar analyses carried out over the last few years in the Tempe suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, USA (Idso et al., 1998, 2001, 2002).

What was learned
The authors' analyses of the data from Kuwait City and their comparison of their results with analogous results from Phoenix revealed that (1) both locations exhibit an annual atmospheric CO2 concentration cycle consistent with patterns of plant growth and decay in the Northern Hemisphere and vehicular traffic fluctuations through the year, (2) both locations have a significant weekly CO2 cycle reflecting the decline in vehicular traffic during the designated weekend period, and (3) both cities exhibit a strong diurnal CO2 cycle created by patterns in vehicular traffic through the day and the diurnal cycles of local circulation and atmospheric stability.  However, whereas the atmospheric CO2 concentration in Kuwait City ranged from a mean of 368 ppm in the afternoon to only slightly more than 371 ppm two hours prior to midnight, comparable values for Phoenix were 390 ppm and more than 450 ppm, respectively.  One possible reason for the huge difference in absolute magnitude between the two locations may reside in the fact that measurements at Phoenix were carried out at a height of only one meter above the ground, whereas those at Kuwait City were made atop a 3-meter tower that stood on the roof of a 7-meter-tall building.

What it means
Similar phenomena appear to determine the characteristics of annual, weekly and diurnal variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration at both Kuwait City and Phoenix.  However, until new measurements in Kuwait City made closer to the ground prove otherwise, or until some other study reports even higher urban CO2 concentrations elsewhere, when it comes to bragging rights for the city with the most highly-developed urban CO2 dome, it would appear that Phoenix is still the champ.

Idso, C.D., Idso, S.B. and Balling Jr., R.C.  1998.  The urban CO2 dome of Phoenix, Arizona.  Physical Geography 19: 95-108.

Idso, C.D., Idso, S.B. and Balling Jr., R.C.  2001.  An intensive two-week study of an urban CO2 dome.  Atmospheric Environment 35: 995-1000.

Idso, S.B., Idso, C.D. and Balling Jr., R.C.  2002.  Seasonal and diurnal variations of near-surface atmospheric CO2 concentration within a residential sector of the urban CO2 dome of Phoenix, Arizona, USA.  Atmospheric Environment 36: 1655-1660.

Reviewed 15 January 2003