EGU22-7868, updated on 18 Aug 2023
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The potential of urban soils for carbon neutral cities

Esko Karvinen1, Leena Järvi2,3, Toni Viskari1, Minttu Havu2, Olivia Kuuri-Riutta4, Pinja Rauhamäki2, Jesse Soininen2, and Liisa Kulmala1
Esko Karvinen et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland (
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Urban areas are notable sources of atmospheric CO2 and cities are currently setting up climate programs with the aim of carbon neutrality in the near future. For example, two major cities in Southern Finland, Helsinki and Turku, have set their targets for 2035 and 2029, respectively. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by reducing carbon emissions, compensating them, and / or strengthening carbon sinks in urban vegetation and soils, the last of which is often deemed the most cost-efficient option. However, the current understanding of biogenic carbon cycling in urban environments is based on dynamics observed in more well-known ecosystems such as forests and agricultural lands. Urban ecosystems differ from non-urban areas in terms of temperature, precipitation and water cycling, pollution, and the level of human-induced disturbance. Thus, there is a need for observations on urban carbon to accurately model and estimate the carbon sinks and stocks in urban green space.

We aimed to monitor urban biogenic carbon cycle with an extensive field campaign carried out around the SMEAR III ICOS station in 2020–2022, accompanied by a few satellite sites around the capital region of Finland. In this presentation, we will show soil carbon pools and the dynamics of soil respiration at five different types of urban green space: a managed park lawn with and without trees, small urban forest, apple orchard, and street tree site. Soil respiration was measured with both regularly repeated manual chamber measurements and automatic chambers throughout two growing seasons. Soil carbon stock was estimated by soil samplings conducted in 2020 and 2021. We investigate the role of different drivers in soil CO2 emission at the various urban green space types and compare those to corresponding metrics measured in non-urban areas. In addition, we test the applicability of Yasso model to simulate the soil carbon dynamics in urban areas.

How to cite: Karvinen, E., Järvi, L., Viskari, T., Havu, M., Kuuri-Riutta, O., Rauhamäki, P., Soininen, J., and Kulmala, L.: The potential of urban soils for carbon neutral cities, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7868,, 2022.