Publications

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2018
Prinn, RG, Weiss RF, Arduini J, Arnold T, DeWitt HL, Fraser PJ, Ganesan AL, Gasore J, Harth CM, Hermansen O, Kim J, Krummel PB, Li SL, Loh ZM, Lunder CR, Maione M, Manning AJ, Miller B, Mitrevski B, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Park S, Reimann S, Rigby M, Saito T, Salameh PK, Schmidt R, Simmonds PG, Steele LP, Vollmer MK, Wang RH, Yao B, Yokouchi Y, Young D, Zhou LX.  2018.  History of chemically and radiatively important atmospheric gases from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). Earth System Science Data. 10:985-1018.   10.5194/essd-10-985-2018   AbstractWebsite

We present the organization, instrumentation, datasets, data interpretation, modeling, and accomplishments of the multinational global atmospheric measurement program AGAGE (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment). AGAGE is distinguished by its capability to measure globally, at high frequency, and at multiple sites all the important species in the Montreal Protocol and all the important non-carbon-dioxide (non-CO2) gases assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (CO2 is also measured at several sites). The scientific objectives of AGAGE are important in furthering our understanding of global chemical and climatic phenomena. They are the following: (1) to accurately measure the temporal and spatial distributions of anthropogenic gases that contribute the majority of reactive halogen to the stratosphere and/or are strong infrared absorbers (chlorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons CFCs, bromocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons HCFCs, hydrofluorocarbons HFCs and polyfluorinated compounds (perfluorocarbons PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride NF3, sulfuryl fluoride SO2F2, and sulfur hexafluoride SF6) and use these measurements to determine the global rates of their emission and/or destruction (i.e., lifetimes); (2) to accurately measure the global distributions and temporal behaviors and determine the sources and sinks of non-CO2 biogenic anthropogenic gases important to climate change and/or ozone depletion (methane CH4, nitrous oxide N20, carbon monoxide CO, molecular hydrogen H2, methyl chloride CH3C1, and methyl bromide CH3Br); (3) to identify new long-lived greenhouse and ozone -depleting gases (e.g., SO2F2, NF3, heavy PFCs (C4Fm, C5F12, C6F 14, C7F16, and C8F18) and hydrofluoroolefins (HF0s; e.g., CH2 = CFCF3) have been identified in AGAGE), initiate the real-time monitoring of these new gases, and reconstruct their past histories from AGAGE, air archive, and firn air measurements; (4) to determine the average concentrations and trends of tropospheric hydroxyl radicals (OH) from the rates of destruction of atmospheric trichloroethane (CH3CC13), HFCs, and HCFCs and estimates of their emissions; (5) to determine from atmospheric observations and estimates of their destruction rates the magnitudes and distributions by region of surface sources and sinks of all measured gases; (6) to provide accurate data on the global accumulation of many of these trace gases that are used to test the synoptic-, regional-, and global -scale circulations predicted by three-dimensional models; and (7) to provide global and regional measurements of methane, carbon monoxide, and molecular hydrogen and estimates of hydroxyl levels to test primary atmospheric oxidation pathways at midlatitudes and the tropics. Network Information and Data Repository: http://agage.mit.edu/data or http://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/ndps/alegage.html (https://doi.org/10.3334/CDIAC/atg.db1001).

Wells, KC, Millet DB, Bousserez N, Henze DK, Griffis TJ, Chaliyakunnel S, Dlugokencky EJ, Saikawa E, Xiang G, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Young D, Weiss RF, Dutton GS, Elkins JW, Krummel PB, Langenfelds R, Steele LP.  2018.  Top-down constraints on global N2O emissions at optimal resolution: application of a new dimension reduction technique. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:735-756.   10.5194/acp-18-735-2018   AbstractWebsite

We present top-down constraints on global monthly N2O emissions for 2011 from a multi-inversion approach and an ensemble of surface observations. The inversions employ the GEOS-Chem adjoint and an array of aggregation strategies to test how well current observations can constrain the spatial distribution of global N2O emissions. The strategies include (1) a standard 4D-Var inversion at native model resolution (4 degrees x 5 degrees), (2) an inversion for six continental and three ocean regions, and (3) a fast 4D-Var inversion based on a novel dimension reduction technique employing randomized singular value decomposition (SVD). The optimized global flux ranges from 15.9 TgNyr(-1) (SVD-based inversion) to 17.5-17.7 TgNyr(-1) (continental-scale, standard 4D-Var inversions), with the former better capturing the extratropical N2O background measured during the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaigns. We find that the tropics provide a greater contribution to the global N2O flux than is predicted by the prior bottom-up inventories, likely due to underestimated agricultural and oceanic emissions. We infer an overestimate of natural soil emissions in the extratropics and find that predicted emissions are seasonally biased in northern midlatitudes. Here, optimized fluxes exhibit a springtime peak consistent with the timing of spring fertilizer and manure application, soil thawing, and elevated soil moisture. Finally, the inversions reveal a major emission underestimate in the US Corn Belt in the bottom-up inventory used here. We extensively test the impact of initial conditions on the analysis and recommend formally optimizing the initial N2O distribution to avoid biasing the inferred fluxes. We find that the SVD-based approach provides a powerful framework for deriving emission information from N2O observations: by defining the optimal resolution of the solution based on the information content of the inversion, it provides spatial information that is lost when aggregating to political or geographic regions, while also providing more temporal information than a standard 4D-Var inversion.

2015
Wells, KC, Millet DB, Bousserez N, Henze DK, Chaliyakunnel S, Griffis TJ, Luan Y, Dlugokencky EJ, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Weiss RF, Dutton GS, Elkins JW, Krummel PB, Langenfelds R, Steele LP, Kort EA, Wofsy SC, Umezawa T.  2015.  Simulation of atmospheric N2O with GEOS-Chem and its adjoint: evaluation of observational constraints. Geoscientific Model Development. 8:3179-3198.   10.5194/gmd-8-3179-2015   AbstractWebsite

We describe a new 4D-Var inversion framework for nitrous oxide (N2O) based on the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model and its adjoint, and apply it in a series of observing system simulation experiments to assess how well N2O sources and sinks can be constrained by the current global observing network. The employed measurement ensemble includes approximately weekly and quasicontinuous N2O measurements (hourly averages used) from several long-term monitoring networks, N2O measurements collected from discrete air samples onboard a commercial aircraft (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container; CARIBIC), and quasi-continuous measurements from the airborne HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) campaigns. For a 2-year inversion, we find that the surface and HIPPO observations can accurately resolve a uniform bias in emissions during the first year; CARIBIC data provide a somewhat weaker constraint. Variable emission errors are much more difficult to resolve given the long lifetime of N2O, and major parts of the world lack significant constraints on the seasonal cycle of fluxes. Current observations can largely correct a global bias in the stratospheric sink of N2O if emissions are known, but do not provide information on the temporal and spatial distribution of the sink. However, for the more realistic scenario where source and sink are both uncertain, we find that simultaneously optimizing both would require unrealistically small errors in model transport. Regardless, a bias in the magnitude of the N2O sink would not affect the a posteriori N2O emissions for the 2-year timescale used here, given realistic initial conditions, due to the timescale required for stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE). The same does not apply to model errors in the rate of STE itself, which we show exerts a larger influence on the tropospheric burden of N2O than does the chemical loss rate over short (< 3 year) timescales. We use a stochastic estimate of the inverse Hessian for the inversion to evaluate the spatial resolution of emission constraints provided by the observations, and find that significant, spatially explicit constraints can be achieved in locations near and immediately upwind of surface measurements and the HIPPO flight tracks; however, these are mostly confined to North America, Europe, and Australia. None of the current observing networks are able to provide significant spatial information on tropical N2O emissions. There, averaging kernels (describing the sensitivity of the inversion to emissions in each grid square) are highly smeared spatially and extend even to the midlatitudes, so that tropical emissions risk being conflated with those elsewhere. For global inversions, therefore, the current lack of constraints on the tropics also places an important limit on our ability to understand extratropical emissions. Based on the error reduction statistics from the inverse Hessian, we characterize the atmospheric distribution of unconstrained N2O, and identify regions in and downwind of South America, central Africa, and Southeast Asia where new surface or profile measurements would have the most value for reducing present uncertainty in the global N2O budget.

2014
Thompson, RL, Ishijima K, Saikawa E, Corazza M, Karstens U, Patra PK, Bergamaschi P, Chevallier F, Dlugokencky E, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, O'Doherty S, Fraser PJ, Steele LP, Krummel PB, Vermeulen A, Tohjima Y, Jordan A, Haszpra L, Steinbacher M, Van der Laan S, Aalto T, Meinhardt F, Popa ME, Moncrieff J, Bousquet P.  2014.  TransCom N2O model inter-comparison - Part 2: Atmospheric inversion estimates of N2O emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 14:6177-6194.   10.5194/acp-14-6177-2014   AbstractWebsite

This study examines N2O emission estimates from five different atmospheric inversion frameworks based on chemistry transport models (CTMs). The five frameworks differ in the choice of CTM, meteorological data, prior uncertainties and inversion method but use the same prior emissions and observation data set. The posterior modelled atmospheric N2O mole fractions are compared to observations to assess the performance of the inversions and to help diagnose problems in the modelled transport. Additionally, the mean emissions for 2006 to 2008 are compared in terms of the spatial distribution and seasonality. Overall, there is a good agreement among the inversions for the mean global total emission, which ranges from 16.1 to 18.7 TgN yr(-1) and is consistent with previous estimates. Ocean emissions represent between 31 and 38% of the global total compared to widely varying previous estimates of 24 to 38%. Emissions from the northern mid- to high latitudes are likely to be more important, with a consistent shift in emissions from the tropics and subtropics to the mid- to high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere; the emission ratio for 0-30A degrees N to 30-90A degrees N ranges from 1.5 to 1.9 compared with 2.9 to 3.0 in previous estimates. The largest discrepancies across inversions are seen for the regions of South and East Asia and for tropical and South America owing to the poor observational constraint for these areas and to considerable differences in the modelled transport, especially inter-hemispheric exchange rates and tropical convective mixing. Estimates of the seasonal cycle in N2O emissions are also sensitive to errors in modelled stratosphere-to-troposphere transport in the tropics and southern extratropics. Overall, the results show a convergence in the global and regional emissions compared to previous independent studies.