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Global atmospheric carbon monoxide budget 2000-2017 inferred from multi-species atmospheric inversions

Zheng, Bo and Chevallier, Frederic and Yin, Yi and Ciais, Philippe and Fortems-Cheiney, Audrey and Deeter, Merritt N. and Parker, Robert J. and Wang, Yilong and Worden, Helen M. and Zhao, Yuanhong (2019) Global atmospheric carbon monoxide budget 2000-2017 inferred from multi-species atmospheric inversions. Earth System Science Data, 11 (3). pp. 1411-1436. ISSN 1866-3516.

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Atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations have been decreasing since 2000, as observed by both satellite- and ground-based instruments, but global bottom-up emission inventories estimate increasing anthropogenic CO emissions concurrently. In this study, we use a multi-species atmospheric Bayesian inversion approach to attribute satellite-observed atmospheric CO variations to its sources and sinks in order to achieve a full closure of the global CO budget during 2000–2017. Our observation constraints include satellite retrievals of the total column mole fraction of CO, formaldehyde (HCHO), and methane (CH_4) that are all major components of the atmospheric CO cycle. Three inversions (i.e., 2000–2017, 2005–2017, and 2010–2017) are performed to use the observation data to the maximum extent possible as they become available and assess the consistency of inversion results to the assimilation of more trace gas species. We identify a declining trend in the global CO budget since 2000 (three inversions are broadly consistent during overlapping periods), driven by reduced anthropogenic emissions in the US and Europe (both likely from the transport sector), and in China (likely from industry and residential sectors), as well as by reduced biomass burning emissions globally, especially in equatorial Africa (associated with reduced burned areas). We show that the trends and drivers of the inversion-based CO budget are not affected by the inter-annual variation assumed for prior CO fluxes. All three inversions contradict the global bottom-up inventories in the world's top two emitters: for the sign of anthropogenic emission trends in China (e.g., here −0.8±0.5 % yr^(−1) since 2000, while the prior gives 1.3±0.4 % yr^(−1)) and for the rate of anthropogenic emission increase in South Asia (e.g., here 1.0±0.6 % yr^(−1) since 2000, smaller than 3.5±0.4 % yr^(−1) in the prior inventory). The posterior model CO concentrations and trends agree well with independent ground-based observations and correct the prior model bias. The comparison of the three inversions with different observation constraints further suggests that the most complete constrained inversion that assimilates CO, HCHO, and CH_4 has a good representation of the global CO budget, and therefore matches best with independent observations, while the inversion only assimilating CO tends to underestimate both the decrease in anthropogenic CO emissions and the increase in the CO chemical production. The global CO budget data from all three inversions in this study can be accessed from (Zheng et al., 2019).

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Zheng, Bo0000-0001-8344-3445
Chevallier, Frederic0000-0002-4327-3813
Yin, Yi0000-0003-4750-4997
Ciais, Philippe0000-0001-8560-4943
Parker, Robert J.0000-0002-0801-0831
Wang, Yilong0000-0001-7176-2692
Additional Information:© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Received: 05 Apr 2019 – Discussion started: 09 May 2019 – Revised: 03 Aug 2019 – Accepted: 18 Aug 2019 – Published: 18 Sep 2019. We acknowledge the NCAR MOPITT group for the production of the CO retrievals and the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center for the production of the SAO OMI HCHO retrievals. We thank the WDCGG and TCCON archives for publishing the ground-based CO observations, and we are grateful to all the people involved in maintaining the network and archiving the observation data. We also thank Francois Marabelle for computing support at LSCE. The GOSAT XCH4 retrievals are processed using the ALICE High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Leicester. This work benefited from HPC resources from GENCI-TGCC (grant no. 2018-A0050102201). Robert J. Parker is funded via the UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO grant no. nceo020005). Author contributions: BZ, FC, and PC designed the study. BZ performed the inversion analysis of the global CO budget and created the data product. The manuscript was written by BZ and revised and discussed by all the coauthors. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This paper was edited by Thomas Blunier and reviewed by three anonymous referees.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA)2018-A0050102201
National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)nceo020005
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191003-112403061
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Official Citation:Zheng, B., Chevallier, F., Yin, Y., Ciais, P., Fortems-Cheiney, A., Deeter, M. N., Parker, R. J., Wang, Y., Worden, H. M., and Zhao, Y.: Global atmospheric carbon monoxide budget 2000–2017 inferred from multi-species atmospheric inversions, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 1411–1436,, 2019
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99048
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Oct 2019 18:35
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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