Near Real Time Emissions Working Group


Near-real time emissions Working Group (NRT-WG)


The COVID-19 outbreak remarkably contributed to a crucial change in how we quantify and understand emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Data from smart devices and remote sensing technologies has provided the opportunity for a change of paradigm in the monitoring of emissions, going from official emission inventories typically reported with a 2~3 year time lag to near-real time (NRT) emission estimates with much lower latency (e.g., 1 month).

The need for NRT emission information has grown not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also as a result of increased interest from policymakers and the general public in climate mitigation, environmental protection, and policy analysis, as well as subsequent events that are causing disruptions to the business-as-usual emission levels (e.g., the war in Ukraine and the associated European energy crisis). This growing need has led to the emergence of several international and national NRT emission initiatives from both public research centers and private companies. 

The accurate quantification of emissions in NRT can provide multiple advantages for monitoring as well as air quality modelling applications, but it also comes with a series of challenges, which need further guidance and benchmarking.

Key points:

  • The focus of the WG will be global-to-local and include anthropogenic emission sources of both criteria and GHG pollutants.
  • NRT estimates should incorporate all those ancillary human activity datasets with a lower latency than traditional inventories, which typically lag reality for 2~3 years. 
  • The WG will identify current practices/efforts and provide guidance for the compilation of NRT emissions. 
  • The guidance should target bottom-up and top-down emissions modelling efforts, establishing a link with the AMIGO initiative.
  • The WG will investigate the role of extrapolation techniques, the use of NRT proxy data, meteorology, and others.
  • The WG will perform benchmarking activities (i.e., official vs. NRT estimates, NRT vs. NRT estimates) to identify and understand discrepancies between estimates.


Priorities of the NRT-WG are divided according to time frames:

  • Short-term
    • Identify key experts and current initiatives/projects developing official and science-based NRT emissions and corresponding applications (i.e., air quality forecasting, monitoring)
    • Explore the potential connection of the identified NRT emission datasets to the ECCAD system
  • Mid-term
    • Review of current practices and applications of NRT emission estimates. For that, we will organize a webinar with identified key experts to get an overview of their current state-of-the-art method to develop the NRT estimates.
    • Design and perform a benchmarking exercise between NRT vs NRT estimates and NRT vs official estimates.
  • Long-term
    • Provide recommendations/guidance in the form of a publication


These priorities will be revisited as the landscape of this work develops, to ensure as much as possible that the work done within this WG provides synergies with other GEIA WGs, builds on existing work and provides a service to the community, without duplicating the efforts.

Working Group Co-Chairs:

  • Marc Guevara, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Earth Sciences department, Spain,
  • B.H. Baek, George Mason University, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, USA,

List of (identified+proposed) key experts: