1Laboratoire d'Aérologie, Université de Toulouse, CNRS/INSU UMR 5560, Toulouse, France
2CNRM-GAME, Météo-France and CNRS URA 1357, Toulouse, France
3CERFACS, CNRS URA 1875, Toulouse, France
4Météo-France, Toulouse, France
5Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institude of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
6University of Edimburgh, Edinburgh, UK
7National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Abstract. This paper presents an evaluation of a new linear parameterization valid for the troposphere and the stratosphere, based on a first order approximation of the carbon monoxide (CO) continuity equation. This linear scheme (hereinafter noted LINCO) has been implemented in the 3-D Chemical Transport Model (CTM) MOCAGE of Météo-France. On the one hand, a one and a half years of LINCO simulation has been compared to output obtained from a detailed chemical scheme output. In spite of small differences, the seasonal and global CO distributions obtained by both schemes present similar general characteristics. The mean differences between both schemes remain small within about ±25 ppbv (part per billion by volume) in the troposphere and ±15 ppbv in the stratosphere. On the other hand, LINCO has been compared to diverse observations from satellite instruments covering the troposphere (Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere: MOPITT) and the stratosphere (Microwave Limb Sounder: MLS) and also from aircraft (Measurements of ozone and water vapour by Airbus in-service aircraft: MOZAIC programme) mostly flying in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. A good agreement is generally found in the troposphere and the lower stratosphere. In the troposphere, the LINCO seasonal variations as well as the vertical and horizontal distributions are quite close to MOPITT CO observations. However, a bias of ~−40 ppbv is observed at 700 hPa between LINCO and MOPITT which is probably caused by too low emission values. In the stratosphere, MLS and LINCO present similar large-scale patterns, except over the poles where the CO concentration is underestimated by the model. We suggest that the underestimation of CO at polar latitudes is not related to the linear scheme but is induced by a too rapid transport by the meridional circulation. In the UTLS (Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere), LINCO tends to slightly overestimate the MOZAIC aircraft observations, with general small biases less than 2%. LINCO is a simple parameterization compared to a detailed chemical scheme, allowing very fast calculations and thus making possible long reanalyses of MOPITT CO data. The computational cost just corresponds to the transport of an additional passive tracer. For this, we used a variational 3-D-FGAT (First Guess at Appropriate Time) method in conjunction with MOCAGE for a long run of one and a half years. The data assimilation greatly improves the vertical CO distribution in the troposphere from 700 to 350 hPa compared to independent MOZAIC profiles. At 146 hPa, the assimilated CO 2-D distribution is improved compared to MLS observations by reducing the bias up to a factor of 2 in the tropics. At extratropical latitudes, the assimilated fields tend to underestimate the CO concentrations resulting from an excessive equator to pole circulation. This study confirms that the linear scheme is able to simulate reasonably well the CO distribution in the troposphere and in the lower stratosphere. Therefore, the low computing cost of the linear scheme opens new perspectives to make free runs and CO data assimilation runs at high resolution and over periods of several years.