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Towards constraints on fossil fuel emissions from total column carbon dioxide

Keppel-Aleks, G. and Wennberg, P. O. and O'Dell, C. W. and Wunch, D. (2013) Towards constraints on fossil fuel emissions from total column carbon dioxide. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13 (8). pp. 4349-4357. ISSN 1680-7316. doi:10.5194/acp-13-4349-2013.

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We assess the large-scale, top-down constraints on regional fossil fuel emissions provided by observations of atmospheric total column CO_2, X_CO_2. Using an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) with underlying fossil emissions, we determine the influence of regional fossil fuel emissions on global X_CO_2 fields. We quantify the regional contrasts between source and upwind regions and probe the sensitivity of atmospheric X_CO_2 to changes in fossil fuel emissions. Regional fossil fuel X_CO_2 contrasts can exceed 0.7 ppm based on 2007 emission estimates, but have large seasonal variations due to biospheric fluxes. Contamination by clouds reduces the discernible fossil signatures. Nevertheless, our simulations show that atmospheric fossil X_CO_2 can be tied to its source region and that changes in the regional X_CO_2 contrasts scale linearly with emissions. We test the GCM results against X_CO_2 data from the GOSAT satellite. Regional X_CO_2 contrasts in GOSAT data generally scale with the predictions from the GCM, but the comparison is limited by the moderate precision of and relatively few observations from the satellite. We discuss how this approach may be useful as a policy tool to verify national fossil emissions, as it provides an independent, observational constraint.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Wennberg, P. O.0000-0002-6126-3854
Wunch, D.0000-0002-4924-0377
Additional Information:© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. Received: 1 November 2012; Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 21 November 2012 Revised: 26 February 2013; Accepted: 22 March 2013; Published: 26 April 2013. The satellite data were produced by the ACOS/OCO-2 project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. The spectra were acquired by the GOSAT project. Support for this work from NASA grants NNX11AG016, NNX08AI86G, and NNX10AT83G is gratefully acknowledged. We acknowledge the Keck Institute for Space Studies for inspiring this study. GKA acknowledges support from a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellowship.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130718-112224702
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Official Citation:Keppel-Aleks, G., Wennberg, P. O., O'Dell, C. W., and Wunch, D.: Towards constraints on fossil fuel emissions from total column carbon dioxide, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 4349-4357, doi:10.5194/acp-13-4349-2013, 2013.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39445
Deposited On:19 Jul 2013 21:37
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:44

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