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3-D distribution of atmospheric CO2 over Asia Pacific

Measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is indispensable for top-down estimation of surface CO2 sources/sinks by an atmospheric transport model. Despite the growing importance of Asia in the global carbon budget, the region has only been sparsely monitored for atmospheric CO2 and our understanding of atmospheric CO2 variations in the region (and thereby that of the regional carbon budget) is still limited. In this study, we present climatological CO2 distributions over the Asia-Pacific region obtained from the CONTRAIL (Comprehensive Observation Network for TRace gases by AIrLiner) measurements. The high-frequency in-flight CO2 measurements over 10 years reveal a clear seasonal variation in CO2 in the upper troposphere (UT), with a maximum occurring in April–May and a minimum in August–September. The CO2 mole fraction in the UT north of 40◦ N is low and highly variable in June–August due to the arrival of air parcels with seasonally low CO22 caused by the summertime biospheric uptake in boreal Eurasia. For August–September in particular, the UT CO2 is noticeably low within the Asian summer monsoon anticyclone associated with the convective transport of strong biospheric CO2 uptake signal over South Asia. During September as the anticyclone decays, a spreading of this low-CO2 area in the UT is observed in the vertical profiles of CO2 over the Pacific Rim of continental East Asia. Simulation results identify the influence of anthropogenic and biospheric CO2 fluxes in the seasonal evolution of the spatial CO2 distribution over the Asia-Pacific region. It is inferred that a substantial contribution to the UT CO2 over the northwestern Pacific comes from continental East Asian emissions in spring; but in the summer monsoon season, the prominent air mass origin switches to South Asia and/or Southeast Asia with a distinct imprint of the biospheric CO2 uptake. The CONTRAIL CO2 data provide useful constraints to model estimates of surface fluxes and to the evaluation of the satellite observations, in particular for the Asia-Pacific region.

Seasonal climatological variations in vertical profiles of CO2 over (a) ICN (Incheon), (b) HND (Tokyo-Haneda), (c) NRT (Tokyo-Narita), (d) SHA (Shanghai), (e) FUK (Fukuoka), (f) NGO (Nagoya), (g) DEL (Delhi), (h) HKG (Hong Kong), (i) TPE (Taipei), (j) BKK (Bangkok), (k) SIN (Singapore), and (l) CGK (Jakarta).

Three-dimensional view of the climatological distribution of CO2 over the Asia-Pacific region in August. The upper panel shows climatological CO2 (color) and monthly wind vectors in the upper troposphere. The bottom panel shows biospheric CO2 flux (uptake in blue and emission in red) estimated by NICAM-TM. The colored pillars show climatological vertical profiles over Asian airports.


CONTRAIL Data Relase: CO2 measured by CME

The CONTRAIL in-flight CO2 data measured by CME are now available via the Global Environmental Database of Center for Global Environmental Studies, National Institute for Environmental Studies. For data download, visit here.