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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Feb 2019

Research article | 06 Feb 2019

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

The 2015–2016 Carbon Cycle As Seen from OCO-2 and the Global In Situ Network

Sean Crowell1, David Baker2, Andrew Schuh2, Sourish Basu3, Andrew R. Jacobson3, Frederic Chevallier4, Junjie Liu5, Feng Deng6, Liang Feng7,8, Abhishek Chatterjee9, David Crisp5, Annmarie Eldering5, Dylan B. Jones6, Kathryn McKain3, John Miller10, Ray Nassar11, Tomohiro Oda9, Christopher O'Dell2, Paul I. Palmer7,8, David Schimel5, Britton Stephens12, and Colm Sweeney10 Sean Crowell et al.
  • 1University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Le Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L'Environnement
  • 5NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 6Department of Physics, University of Toronto
  • 7School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
  • 8National Center for Earth Observation, University of Edinburgh
  • 9Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • 10NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 11Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • 12National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 has been on orbit since 2014, and its global coverage holds the potential to reveal new information about the carbon cycle through the use of top-down atmospheric inversion methods combined with column average CO2 retrievals. We employ a large ensemble of atmospheric inversions utilizing different transport models, data assimilation techniques and prior flux distributions in order to quantify the satellite-informed fluxes from OCO-2 Version 7r land observations and their uncertainties at continental scales. Additionally, we use in situ measurements to provide a baseline against which to compare the satellite-constrained results. We find that within ensemble spread, in situ observations and satellite retrievals constrain a similar global total carbon sink of 3.7 ± 0.5 PgC, and 1.5 ± 0.6 PgC per year for global land, for the 2015–2016 annual mean. This agreement breaks down on smaller regions, and we discuss the differences between the experiments. Of particular interest is the difference between the different assimilation constraints in the tropics, with the largest differences occurring in tropical Africa, which could be an indication of the global perturbation from the 2015–2016 El Niño. Evaluation of posterior concentrations using TCCON and aircraft observations gives some limited insight into the quality of the different assimilation constraints, but the lack of such data in the tropics inhibits our ability to make strong conclusions there.

Sean Crowell et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Sean Crowell et al.
Sean Crowell et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Space-based retrievals of carbon dioxide offer the potential to provide dense data in regions that are sparsely observed by the surface network. We find that flux estimates that are informed by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) show different character from that inferred using surface measurements in tropical land regions, particularly in Africa, with a much larger total emission and larger amplitude seasonal cycle.
Space-based retrievals of carbon dioxide offer the potential to provide dense data in regions...