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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Mar 2018

Research article | 14 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Computation and analysis of atmospheric carbon dioxide annual mean growth rates from satellite observations during 2003–2016

Michael Buchwitz1, Maximilian Reuter1, Oliver Schneising1, Stefan Noël1, Bettina Gier1,2, Heinrich Bovensmann1, John P. Burrows1, Hartmut Boesch3,4, Jasdeep Anand3,4, Robert J. Parker3,4, Peter Somkuti3,4, Rob G. Detmers5, Otto P. Hasekamp5, Ilse Aben5, André Butz2,6, Akihiko Kuze7, Hiroshi Suto7, Yukio Yoshida8, David Crosp9, and Christopher O'Dell10 Michael Buchwitz et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3Earth Observation Science, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 4NERC National Centre for Earth Observation, Leicester, UK
  • 5SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 6Meteorologisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany
  • 7Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Japan
  • 8National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Tsukuba, Japan
  • 9Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 10Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, CO, USA

Abstract. The growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) reflects the net effect of emissions and uptake resulting from anthropogenic and natural carbon sources and sinks. Annual mean CO2 growth rates have been determined globally and for selected latitude bands from satellite retrievals of column-average dry-air mole fractions of CO2, i.e., XCO2, for the years 2003 to 2016. The global XCO2 growth rates agree with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) growth rates from CO2 surface observations within the uncertainty of the satellite-derived growth rates (mean difference ± standard deviation: 0.0±0.24ppm/year; R: 0.87). This new and independent data set confirms record large growth rates around 3 ppm/year in 2015 and 2016, which are attributed to the 2015/2016 El Niño. Based on a comparison of the satellite-derived growth rates with human CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indices, we estimate by how much the impact of ENSO dominates the impact of fossil fuel burning related emissions in explaining the variance of the atmospheric CO2 growth rate.

Michael Buchwitz et al.
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Michael Buchwitz et al.
Michael Buchwitz et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We present a new satellite data set of column-averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2), which covers the time period 2003 to 2016. We used this data set to compute annual mean atmospheric CO2 growth rates. We show that the growth rate is highest during 2015 and 2016 despite nearly constant CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning in recent years. The high growth rates are attributed to year 2015/2016 El Nino episodes. We present correlations with fossil fuel emissions and ENSO indices.
We present a new satellite data set of column-averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2),...