Characterization of Regional-Scale CO2 Transport Uncertainties in an Ensemble with Flow-Dependent Transport Errors

Hans W. Chen, Fuqing Zhang, Thomas Lauvaux, Kenneth James Davis, Sha Feng, Martha Peirce Butler, Richard B. Alley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Inference of CO2 surface fluxes using atmospheric CO2 observations in atmospheric inversions depends critically on accurate representation of atmospheric transport. Here we characterize regional-scale CO2 transport uncertainties due to uncertainties in meteorological fields using a mesoscale atmospheric model and an ensemble of simulations with flow-dependent transport errors. During a 1-month summer period over North America, transport uncertainties yield an ensemble spread in instantaneous CO2 at 100 m above ground level comparable to the CO2 uncertainties resulting from 48% relative uncertainty in 3-hourly natural CO2 fluxes. Temporal averaging reduces transport uncertainties but increases the influence of CO2 uncertainties from the lateral boundaries. The influence of CO2 background uncertainties is especially large for column-averaged CO2. These results suggest that transport errors and CO2 background errors limit regional atmospheric inversions at two distinct timescales and that the error characteristics of transport and background errors should guide the design of regional inversion systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4049-4058
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2019

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atmospheric transport
surface flux
inversions
timescale
summer
atmospheric models
simulation
inference
atmospheric inversion
inversion
North America
atmospheric model

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "Characterization of Regional-Scale CO2 Transport Uncertainties in an Ensemble with Flow-Dependent Transport Errors",
abstract = "Inference of CO2 surface fluxes using atmospheric CO2 observations in atmospheric inversions depends critically on accurate representation of atmospheric transport. Here we characterize regional-scale CO2 transport uncertainties due to uncertainties in meteorological fields using a mesoscale atmospheric model and an ensemble of simulations with flow-dependent transport errors. During a 1-month summer period over North America, transport uncertainties yield an ensemble spread in instantaneous CO2 at 100 m above ground level comparable to the CO2 uncertainties resulting from 48{\%} relative uncertainty in 3-hourly natural CO2 fluxes. Temporal averaging reduces transport uncertainties but increases the influence of CO2 uncertainties from the lateral boundaries. The influence of CO2 background uncertainties is especially large for column-averaged CO2. These results suggest that transport errors and CO2 background errors limit regional atmospheric inversions at two distinct timescales and that the error characteristics of transport and background errors should guide the design of regional inversion systems.",
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Characterization of Regional-Scale CO2 Transport Uncertainties in an Ensemble with Flow-Dependent Transport Errors. / Chen, Hans W.; Zhang, Fuqing; Lauvaux, Thomas; Davis, Kenneth James; Feng, Sha; Butler, Martha Peirce; Alley, Richard B.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 46, No. 7, 16.04.2019, p. 4049-4058.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Chen, Hans W.

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AU - Butler, Martha Peirce

AU - Alley, Richard B.

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AB - Inference of CO2 surface fluxes using atmospheric CO2 observations in atmospheric inversions depends critically on accurate representation of atmospheric transport. Here we characterize regional-scale CO2 transport uncertainties due to uncertainties in meteorological fields using a mesoscale atmospheric model and an ensemble of simulations with flow-dependent transport errors. During a 1-month summer period over North America, transport uncertainties yield an ensemble spread in instantaneous CO2 at 100 m above ground level comparable to the CO2 uncertainties resulting from 48% relative uncertainty in 3-hourly natural CO2 fluxes. Temporal averaging reduces transport uncertainties but increases the influence of CO2 uncertainties from the lateral boundaries. The influence of CO2 background uncertainties is especially large for column-averaged CO2. These results suggest that transport errors and CO2 background errors limit regional atmospheric inversions at two distinct timescales and that the error characteristics of transport and background errors should guide the design of regional inversion systems.

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