Potential improvements in global carbon flux estimates from a network of laser...

Palmer, P. I., E. L. Wilson, G. L. Villanueva, G. Liuzzi, L. Feng, A. J. DiGregorio, J. Mao, L. Ott, and B. Duncan (2019), Potential improvements in global carbon flux estimates from a network of laser heterodyne radiometer measurements of column carbon dioxide, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 12, 2579-2594, doi:10.5194/amt-12-2579-2019.

We present observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) to evaluate the impact of a proposed network of ground-based miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer (mini-LHR) instruments that measure atmospheric columnaveraged carbon dioxide (XCO2 ) with a 1 ppm precision. A particular strength of this passive measurement approach is its insensitivity to clouds and aerosols due to its direct sun pointing and narrow field of view (0.2◦ ). Developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), these portable, low-cost mini-LHR instruments were designed to operate in tandem with the sun photometers used by the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET). This partnership allows us to leverage the existing framework of AERONET’s global ground network of more than 500 sites as well as providing simultaneous measurements of aerosols that are known to be a major source of error in retrievals of XCO2 from passive nadir-viewing satellite observations. We show, using the global 3-D GEOS-Chem chemistry transport model, that a deployment of 50 mini-LHRs at strategic (but not optimized) AERONET sites significantly improves our knowledge of global and regional land-based CO2 fluxes. This improvement varies seasonally and ranges 58 %–81 % over southern lands, 47 %–76 % over tropical lands, 71 %–92 % over northern lands, and 64 %–91 % globally. We also show significant added value from combining mini-LHR instruments with the existing ground-based NOAA flask network. Collectively, these data result in improved a posteriori CO2 flux estimates on spatial scales of ∼ 10 km2 , especially over North America and Europe, where the ground-based networks are densest. Our studies suggest that the mini-LHR network could also play a substantive role in reducing carbon flux uncertainty in Arctic and tropical systems by filling in geographical gaps in measurements left by ground-based networks and spacebased observations. A realized network would also provide necessary data for the quinquennial global stocktakes that form part of the Paris Agreement.

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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Program (CCEP)