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Meinshausen, M, Vogel E, Nauels A, Lorbacher K, Meinshausen N, Etheridge DM, Fraser PJ, Montzka SA, Rayner PJ, Trudinger CM, Krummel PB, Beyerle U, Canadell JG, Daniel JS, Enting IG, Law RM, Lunder CR, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Reimann S, Rubino M, Velders GJM, Vollmer MK, Wang RHJ, Weiss R.  2017.  Historical greenhouse gas concentrations for climate modelling (CMIP6). Geoscientific Model Development. 10:2057-2116.   10.5194/gmd-10-2057-2017   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations are at unprecedented, record-high levels compared to the last 800 000 years. Those elevated GHG concentrations warm the planet and - partially offset by net cooling effects by aerosols - are largely responsible for the observed warming over the past 150 years. An accurate representation of GHG concentrations is hence important to understand and model recent climate change. So far, community efforts to create composite datasets of GHG concentrations with seasonal and latitudinal information have focused on marine boundary layer conditions and recent trends since the 1980s. Here, we provide consolidated datasets of historical atmospheric concentrations (mole fractions) of 43 GHGs to be used in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) experiments. The presented datasets are based on AGAGE and NOAA networks, firn and ice core data, and archived air data, and a large set of published studies. In contrast to previous intercomparisons, the new datasets are latitudinally resolved and include seasonality. We focus on the period 1850-2014 for historical CMIP6 runs, but data are also provided for the last 2000 years. Weprovide consolidated datasets in various spatiotemporal resolutions for carbon dioxide (CO2), mcthanc (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as 40 other GHGs, namely 17 ozone-depleting substances, 11 hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), 9 perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2). In addition we provide three equivalence species that aggregate concentrations of GHGs other than CO2, CH4 and N2O, weighted by their radiative forcing efficiencies. For the year 1850, which is used for pre-industrial control runs, we estimate annual global-mean surface concentrations of CO2 at 284.3 ppm, CH4 at 808.2 ppb and N2O at 273.0 ppb. The data are available at While the minimum CMIP6 recommendation is to use the global-and annual-mean time series, modelling groups can also choose our monthly and latitudinally resolved concentrations, which imply a stronger radiative forcing in the Northern Hemisphere winter (due to the latitudinal gradient and seasonality).

Lefevre, N, Watson AJ, Cooper DJ, Weiss RF, Takahashi T, Sutherland SC.  1999.  Assessing the seasonality of the oceanic sink for CO2 in the northern hemisphere. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 13:273-286.   10.1029/1999gb900001   AbstractWebsite

Seasonal CO2 fluxes are estimated from quarterly maps of Delta pCO(2) (difference between the oceanic and atmospheric partial pressure of CO2) and associated error maps. Delta pCO(2) maps were interpolated from pCO(2) measurements in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans using an objective mapping technique. Negative values correspond to an uptake of CO2 by the ocean. The CO2 flux for the North Atlantic Ocean, between 10 degrees N and 80 degrees N, ranges from -0.69 GtC/yr, for the first quarter (January-March), to -0.19 GtC/yr for the third quarter (July-September) using the gas exchange coefficient of Tans et al. [1990], satellite wind speeds, and a correction for the skin effect. On annual average, the North Atlantic ocean (north of 10 degrees N) is a sink of CO2 ranging from -0.23 +/- 0.08 GtC/yr (gas exchange coefficient of Liss and Merlivat [1986] with Esbensen and Kushnir [1981] wind field) to -0.48 +/- 0.17 GtC/yr (gas exchange coefficient of Tans et al. with satellite wind field). The CO2 flux for the North Pacific, between 15 degrees N and 65 degrees N, ranges from -0.66 GtC/yr from April to June to zero from July to September. For the Atlantic, the errors are generally small, that is, less than 0.19 GtC/yr, but for the Pacific considerably larger uncertainties are generated due to the less extensive data coverage. The northern hemisphere ocean (north of 10 degrees N) is a net sink of CO2 to the atmosphere which is stronger in spring (April-June), due to the biological activity, with an estimate of -1.23 +/- 0.40 GtC/yr averaged over this period. The annual mean northern hemisphere ocean flux is -0.86 +/- 0.61 GtC/yr.

Murphy, PP, Harrison DE, Feely RA, Takahashi T, Weiss RF, Gammon RH.  1998.  Variability of Δ pCO2 in the subarctic North Pacific. A comparison of results from four expeditions. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 50:185-204.   10.1034/j.1600-0889.1998.t01-1-00006.x   AbstractWebsite

Time-space variability of surface seawater pCO(2) is examined over the region (150 degrees W-180 degrees, 46 degrees N-50 degrees N) of the subarctic North Pacific where large meridional gradients of temperature and nutrient concentrations exist. The data were collected during four trans-Pacific expeditions in three different years (1985-1987), but within the same 30-day period of the year (August-September). Systematic measurement differences between the four data sets are estimated as <10 mu atm. The inter-expedition comparison suggests that surface seawater pCO(2) in the study area is quite variable, with mean differences of up to 25 mu atm and local differences up to 60 mu atm. Spatial and interannual variability of surface seawater pCO(2) were found to contribute significant uncertainty to estimates of the mean Delta pCO(2) for the study area. Fluxes were calculated using Delta pCO(2) values from the four expeditions combined with gas exchange coefficients calculated from four different wind fields giving a range of -0.94 to +4.1 mmol CO2 m(-2) d(-1). The range of fluxes from the study area is scaled to a larger area of the North Pacific to address how this variability can translate into uncertainties in basin-wide carbon air-sea exchange fluxes.

Takahashi, T, Feely RA, Weiss RF, Wanninkhof RH, Chipman DW, Sutherland SC, Takahashi TT.  1997.  Global air-sea flux of CO2: An estimate based on measurements of sea-air pCO2 difference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 94:8292-8299.   10.1073/pnas.94.16.8292   AbstractWebsite

Approximately 250,000 measurements made for the pCO(2) difference between surface water and the marine atmosphere, Delta pCO(2), have been assembled for the global oceans. Observations made in the equatorial Pacific during El Nine events have been excluded from the data set, These observations are mapped on the global 4 degrees x 5 degrees grid for a single virtual calendar year (chosen arbitrarily to be 1990) representing a non-El Nino year. Monthly global distributions of Delta pCO(2) have been constructed using an interpolation method based on a lateral advection-diffusion transport equation. The net flux of CO2 across the sea surface has been computed using Delta pCO(2) distributions and CO2 gas transfer coefficients across sea surface. The annual net uptake flux of CO2 by the global oceans thus estimated ranges from 0.60 to 1.34 Gt-C.yr(-1) depending on different formulations used for wind speed dependence on the gas transfer coefficient, These estimates;Ire subject to an error of up to 75% resulting from the numerical interpolation method used to estimate the distribution of Delta pCO(2) over the global oceans, Temperate and polar oceans of the both hemispheres are the major sinks for atmospheric CO2, whereas the equatorial oceans are the major sources for CO2. The Atlantic Ocean is the most important CO2 sink, providing about 60% of the global ocean uptake, while the Pacific Ocean is neutral because of its equatorial source flux being balanced by the sink flux of the temperate oceans, The Indian and Southern Oceans take up about 20% each.