Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 12805-12848, 2011
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Three-dimensional variations of atmospheric CO2: aircraft measurements and multi-transport model simulations
Y. Niwa1, P. K. Patra2, Y. Sawa1, T. Machida3, H. Matsueda1, D. Belikov3, T. Maki1, M. Ikegami4, R. Imasu5, S. Maksyutov3, T. Oda3, M. Satoh2,5, and M. Takigawa2
1Geochemical Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
2Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan
3Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
4Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo, Japan
5Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan

Abstract. Numerical simulation and validation of three-dimensional structure of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is necessary for quantification of transport model uncertainty and its role on surface flux estimation by inverse modeling. Simulations of atmospheric CO2 were performed using four transport models and two sets of surface fluxes compared with an aircraft measurement dataset of Comprehensive Observation Network for Trace gases by AIrLiner (CONTRAIL), covering various latitudes, longitudes, and heights. Under this transport model intercomparison project, spatiotemporal variations of CO2 concentration for 2006–2007 were analyzed with a three-dimensional perspective. Results show that the models reasonably simulated vertical profiles and seasonal variations not only over northern latitude areas but also over the tropics and southern latitudes. From CONTRAIL measurements and model simulations, intrusion of northern CO2 in to the Southern Hemisphere, through the upper troposphere, was confirmed. Furthermore, models well simulated the vertical propagation of seasonal variation in the northern free-troposphere. However, significant model–observation discrepancies were found in Asian regions, which are attributable to uncertainty of the surface CO2 flux data. The models consistently underestimated the north-tropics mean gradient of CO2 both in the free-troposphere and marine boundary layer during boreal summer. This result suggests that the north-tropics contrast of annual mean net non-fossil CO2 flux should be greater than 2.7 Pg C yr−1 for 2007.

Citation: Niwa, Y., Patra, P. K., Sawa, Y., Machida, T., Matsueda, H., Belikov, D., Maki, T., Ikegami, M., Imasu, R., Maksyutov, S., Oda, T., Satoh, M., and Takigawa, M.: Three-dimensional variations of atmospheric CO2: aircraft measurements and multi-transport model simulations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 12805-12848, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-12805-2011, 2011.
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