A CO-based method to determine the regional biospheric signal in atmospheric CO₂

Oney, Brian; Gruber, Nicolas; Henne, Stephan; Leuenberger, Markus; Brunner, Dominik (2017). A CO-based method to determine the regional biospheric signal in atmospheric CO₂. Tellus. Series B, Chemical and physical meteorology, 69(1), p. 1353388. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/16000889.2017.1353388

[img]
Preview
Text
A CO based method to determine the regional biospheric signal in atmospheric CO2.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (4MB) | Preview

Regional-scale inverse modeling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CORegional-scale inverse modeling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) holds promise to determine the net CO₂ fluxes between the land biosphere and the atmosphere. This approach requires not only high fidelity of atmospheric transport and mixing, but also an accurate estimation of the contribution of the anthropogenic and background CO₂ signals to isolate the biospheric CO₂ signal from the atmospheric CO₂ variations. Thus, uncertainties in any of these three components directly impact the quality of the biospheric flux inversion. Here, we present and evaluate a carbon monoxide (CO)-based method to reduce these uncertainties solely on the basis of co-located observations. To this end, we use simultaneous observations of CO₂ and CO from a background observation site to determine the background mole fractions for both gases, and the regional anthropogenic component of CO together with an estimate of the anthropogenic CO/CO₂ mole fraction ratio to determine the anthropogenic CO₂ component. We apply this method to two sites of the CarboCount CH observation network on the Swiss Plateau, Beromünster and Lägern-Hochwacht, and use the high-altitude site Jungfraujoch as background for the year 2013. Since such a background site is not always available, we also explore the possibility to use observations from the sites themselves to derive the background. We contrast the method with the standard approach of isolating the biospheric CO₂ component by subtracting the anthropogenic and background components simulated by an atmospheric transport model. These tests reveal superior results from the observation-based method with retrieved wintertime biospheric signals being small and having little variance. Both observation- and model-based methods have difficulty to explain observations from late-winter and springtime pollution events in 2013, when anomalously cold temperatures and northeasterly winds tended to bring highly CO-enriched air masses to Switzerland. The uncertainty of anthropogenic CO/CO₂ emission ratios is currently the most important factor limiting the method. Further, our results highlight that care needs to be taken when the background component is determined from the site’s observations. Nonetheless, we find that future atmospheric carbon monitoring efforts would profit greatly from at least measuring CO alongside CO₂ holds promise to determine the net CO₂ fluxes between the land biosphere and the atmosphere. This approach requires not only high fidelity of atmospheric transport and mixing, but also an accurate estimation of the contribution of the anthropogenic and background CO₂ signals to isolate the biospheric CO₂ signal from the atmospheric CO₂ variations. Thus, uncertainties in any of these three components directly impact the quality of the biospheric flux inversion. Here, we present and evaluate a carbon monoxide (CO)-based method to reduce these uncertainties solely on the basis of co-located observations. To this end, we use simultaneous observations of CO₂ and CO from a background observation site to determine the background mole fractions for both gases, and the regional anthropogenic component of CO together with an estimate of the anthropogenic CO/CO₂ mole fraction ratio to determine the anthropogenic CO₂ component. We apply this method to two sites of the CarboCount CH observation network on the Swiss Plateau, Beromünster and Lägern-Hochwacht, and use the high-altitude site Jungfraujoch as background for the year 2013. Since such a background site is not always available, we also explore the possibility to use observations from the sites themselves to derive the background. We contrast the method with the standard approach of isolating the biospheric CO₂ component by subtracting the anthropogenic and background components simulated by an atmospheric transport model. These tests reveal superior results from the observation-based method with retrieved wintertime biospheric signals being small and having little variance. Both observation- and model-based methods have difficulty to explain observations from late-winter and springtime pollution events in 2013, when anomalously cold temperatures and northeasterly winds tended to bring highly CO-enriched air masses to Switzerland. The uncertainty of anthropogenic CO/CO₂ emission ratios is currently the most important factor limiting the method. Further, our results highlight that care needs to be taken when the background component is determined from the site’s observations. Nonetheless, we find that future atmospheric carbon monitoring efforts would profit greatly from at least measuring CO alongside CO₂.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Leuenberger, Markus

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0280-6509

Publisher:

Taylor & Francis

Language:

English

Submitter:

Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

11 Apr 2018 10:57

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2019 02:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/16000889.2017.1353388

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.108187

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/108187

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback