Atmospheric simulations of total column CO2 mole fractions from global to mesoscale within the carbon monitoring system flux inversion framework

Martha P. Butler, Thomas Lauvaux, Sha Feng, Junjie Liu, Kevin W. Bowman, Kenneth J. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Quantifying the uncertainty of inversion-derived CO2 surface fluxes and attributing the uncertainty to errors in either flux or atmospheric transport simulations continue to be challenges in the characterization of surface sources and sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2). Despite recent studies inferring fluxes while using higher-resolution modeling systems, the utility of regional-scale models remains unclear when compared to existing coarse-resolution global systems. Here, we present an off-line coupling of the mesoscale Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to optimized biogenic CO2 fluxes and mole fractions from the global Carbon Monitoring System inversion system (CMS-Flux). The coupling framework consists of methods to constrain the mass of CO2 introduced into WRF, effectively nesting our regional domain covering most of North America (except the northern half of Canada) within the CMS global model. We test the coupling by simulating Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) column-averaged dry-air mole fractions (XCO2) over North America for 2010. We find mean model-model differences in summer of 0.12 ppm, significantly lower than the original coupling scheme (from 0.5 to 1.5 ppm, depending on the boundary). While 85% of the XCO2 values are due to long-range transport from outside our North American domain, most of the model-model differences appear to be due to transport differences in the fraction of the troposphere below 850 hPa. Satellite data from GOSAT and tower and aircraft data are used to show that vertical transport above the Planetary Boundary Layer is responsible for significant model-model differences in the horizontal distribution of column XCO2 across North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number787
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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