Publications

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2017
Verhulst, KR, Karion A, Kim J, Salameh PK, Keeling RF, Newman S, Miller J, Sloop C, Pongetti T, Rao P, Wong C, Hopkins FM, Yadav V, Weiss RF, Duren RM, Miller CE.  2017.  Carbon dioxide and methane measurements from the Los Angeles Megacity Carbon Project - Part 1: calibration, urban enhancements, and uncertainty estimates. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 17:8313-8341.   10.5194/acp-17-8313-2017   AbstractWebsite

We report continuous surface observations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from the Los Angeles (LA) Megacity Carbon Project during 2015. We devised a calibration strategy, methods for selection of background air masses, calculation of urban enhancements, and a detailed algorithm for estimating uncertainties in urban-scale CO2 and CH4 measurements. These methods are essential for understanding carbon fluxes from the LA megacity and other complex urban environments globally. We estimate background mole fractions entering LA using observations from four "extra-urban" sites including two "marine" sites located south of LA in La Jolla (LJO) and offshore on San Clemente Island (SCI), one "continental" site located in Victorville (VIC), in the high desert northeast of LA, and one "continental/mid-troposphere" site located on Mount Wilson (MWO) in the San Gabriel Mountains. We find that a local marine background can be established to within similar to 1 ppm CO2 and similar to 10 ppb CH4 using these local measurement sites. Overall, atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane levels are highly variable across Los Angeles. "Urban" and "suburban" sites show moderate to large CO2 and CH4 enhancements relative to a marine background estimate. The USC (University of Southern California) site near downtown LA exhibits median hourly enhancements of similar to 20 ppm CO2 and similar to 150 ppb CH4 during 2015 as well as similar to 15 ppm CO2 and similar to 80 ppb CH4 during mid-afternoon hours (12:00-16:00 LT, local time), which is the typical period of focus for flux inversions. The estimated measurement uncertainty is typically better than 0.1 ppm CO2 and 1 ppb CH4 based on the repeated standard gas measurements from the LA sites during the last 2 years, similar to Andrews et al. (2014). The largest component of the measurement uncertainty is due to the single-point calibration method; however, the uncertainty in the background mole fraction is much larger than the measurement uncertainty. The background uncertainty for the marine background estimate is similar to 10 and similar to 15% of the median mid-afternoon enhancement near downtown LA for CO2 and CH4, respectively. Overall, analytical and background uncertainties are small relative to the local CO2 and CH4 enhancements; however, our results suggest that reducing the uncertainty to less than 5% of the median mid-afternoon enhancement will require detailed assessment of the impact of meteorology on background conditions.

2016
Jeong, SG, Newman S, Zhang JS, Andrews AE, Bianco L, Bagley J, Cui XG, Graven H, Kim J, Salameh P, LaFranchi BW, Priest C, Campos-Pineda M, Novakovskaia E, Sloop CD, Michelsen HA, Bambha RP, Weiss RF, Keeling R, Fischer ML.  2016.  Estimating methane emissions in California's urban and rural regions using multitower observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 121:13031-13049.   10.1002/2016jd025404   AbstractWebsite

We present an analysis of methane (CH4) emissions using atmospheric observations from 13 sites in California during June 2013 to May 2014. A hierarchical Bayesian inversion method is used to estimate CH4 emissions for spatial regions (0.3 degrees pixels for major regions) by comparing measured CH4 mixing ratios with transport model (Weather Research and Forecasting and Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport) predictions based on seasonally varying California-specific CH4 prior emission models. The transport model is assessed using a combination of meteorological and carbon monoxide (CO) measurements coupled with the gridded California Air Resources Board (CARB) CO emission inventory. The hierarchical Bayesian inversion suggests that state annual anthropogenic CH4 emissions are 2.42 +/- 0.49 Tg CH4/yr (at 95% confidence), higher (1.2-1.8 times) than the current CARB inventory (1.64 Tg CH4/yr in 2013). It should be noted that undiagnosed sources of errors or uncaptured errors in the model-measurement mismatch covariance may increase these uncertainty bounds beyond that indicated here. The CH4 emissions from the Central Valley and urban regions (San Francisco Bay and South Coast Air Basins) account for similar to 58% and 26% of the total posterior emissions, respectively. This study suggests that the livestock sector is likely the major contributor to the state total CH4 emissions, in agreement with CARB's inventory. Attribution to source sectors for subregions of California using additional trace gas species would further improve the quantification of California's CH4 emissions and mitigation efforts toward the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32).

2013
Simmonds, PG, Manning AJ, Athanassiadou M, Scaife AA, Derwent RG, O'Doherty S, Harth CM, Weiss RF, Dutton GS, Hall BD, Sweeney C, Elkins JW.  2013.  Interannual fluctuations in the seasonal cycle of nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons due to the Brewer-Dobson circulation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 118:10694-10706.   10.1002/jgrd.50832   AbstractWebsite

The tropospheric seasonal cycles of N2O, CFC-11 (CCl3F), and CFC-12 (CCl2F2) are influenced by atmospheric dynamics. The interannually varying summertime minima in mole fractions of these trace gases have been attributed to interannual variations in mixing of stratospheric air (depleted in CFCs and N2O) with tropospheric air with a few months lag. The amount of wave activity that drives the stratospheric circulation and influences the winter stratospheric jet and subsequent mass transport across the tropopause appears to be the primary cause of this interannual variability. We relate the observed seasonal minima of species at three Northern Hemisphere sites (Mace Head, Ireland; Trinidad Head, U.S.; and Barrow, Alaska) with the behavior of the winter stratospheric jet. As a result, a good correlation is obtained between zonal winds in winter at 10 hPa, 58°N–68°N, and the detrended seasonal minima in the stratosphere-influenced tracers. For these three tracers, individual Pearson correlation coefficients (r) between 0.51 and 0.71 were found, with overall correlations of between 0.67 and 0.77 when “composite species” were considered. Finally, we note that the long-term observations of CFCs and N2O in the troposphere provide an independent monitoring method complementary to satellite data. Furthermore, they could provide a useful observational measure of the strength of stratosphere-troposphere exchange and, thus, could be used to monitor any long-term trend in the Brewer-Dobson circulation which is predicted by climate models to increase over the coming decades.

Yver, CE, Graven HD, Lucas DD, Cameron-Smith PJ, Keeling RF, Weiss RF.  2013.  Evaluating transport in the WRF model along the California coast. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 13:1837-1852.   10.5194/acp-13-1837-2013   AbstractWebsite

This paper presents a step in the development of a top-down method to complement the bottom-up inventories of halocarbon emissions in California using high frequency observations, forward simulations and inverse methods. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography high-frequency atmospheric halocarbons measurement sites are located along the California coast and therefore the evaluation of transport in the chosen Weather Research Forecast (WRF) model at these sites is crucial for inverse modeling. The performance of the transport model has been investigated by comparing the wind direction and speed and temperature at four locations using aircraft weather reports as well at all METAR weather stations in our domain for hourly variations. Different planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes, horizontal resolutions (achieved through nesting) and two meteorological datasets have been tested. Finally, simulated concentration of an inert tracer has been briefly investigated. All the PBL schemes present similar results that generally agree with observations, except in summer when the model sea breeze is too strong. At the coarse 12 km resolution, using ERA-interim (ECMWF Re-Analysis) as initial and boundary conditions leads to improvements compared to using the North American Model (NAM) dataset. Adding higher resolution nests also improves the match with the observations. However, no further improvement is observed from increasing the nest resolution from 4 km to 0.8 km. Once optimized, the model is able to reproduce tracer measurements during typical winter California large-scale events (Santa Ana). Furthermore, with the WRF/CHEM chemistry module and the European Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) version 4.1 emissions for HFC-134a, we find that using a simple emission scaling factor is not sufficient to infer emissions, which highlights the need for more complex inversions.

2009
Stohl, A, Seibert P, Arduini J, Eckhardt S, Fraser P, Greally BR, Lunder C, Maione M, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Reimann S, Saito T, Schmidbauer N, Simmonds PG, Vollmer MK, Weiss RF, Yokouchi Y.  2009.  An analytical inversion method for determining regional and global emissions of greenhouse gases: Sensitivity studies and application to halocarbons. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 9:1597-1620.   10.5194/acp-9-1597-2009   AbstractWebsite

A new analytical inversion method has been developed to determine the regional and global emissions of long-lived atmospheric trace gases. It exploits in situ measurement data from three global networks and builds on backward simulations with a Lagrangian particle dispersion model. The emission information is extracted from the observed concentration increases over a baseline that is itself objectively determined by the inversion algorithm. The method was applied to two hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a, HFC-152a) and a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC-22) for the period January 2005 until March 2007. Detailed sensitivity studies with synthetic as well as with real measurement data were done to quantify the influence on the results of the a priori emissions and their uncertainties as well as of the observation and model errors. It was found that the global a posteriori emissions of HFC-134a, HFC-152a and HCFC-22 all increased from 2005 to 2006. Large increases (21%, 16%, 18%, respectively) from 2005 to 2006 were found for China, whereas the emission changes in North America (-9%, 23%, 17%, respectively) and Europe (11%, 11%,-4%, respectively) were mostly smaller and less systematic. For Europe, the a posteriori emissions of HFC-134a and HFC-152a were slightly higher than the a priori emissions reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For HCFC-22, the a posteriori emissions for Europe were substantially (by almost a factor 2) higher than the a priori emissions used, which were based on HCFC consumption data reported to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Combined with the reported strongly decreasing HCFC consumption in Europe, this suggests a substantial time lag between the reported time of the HCFC-22 consumption and the actual time of the HCFC-22 emission. Conversely, in China where HCFC consumption is increasing rapidly according to the UNEP data, the a posteriori emissions are only about 40% of the a priori emissions. This reveals a substantial storage of HCFC-22 and potential for future emissions in China. Deficiencies in the geographical distribution of stations measuring halocarbons in relation to estimating regional emissions are also discussed in the paper. Applications of the inversion algorithm to other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide are foreseen for the future.

2002
Vollmer, MK, Weiss RF.  2002.  Simultaneous determination of sulfur hexafluoride and three chlorofluorocarbons in water and air. Marine Chemistry. 78:137-148.   10.1016/s0304-4203(02)00015-4   AbstractWebsite

We have developed an analytical technique for the simultaneous measurement of the four trace gases sulfur hexafluoride (SF(6)) and the chlorofluorocarbons CCl(2)F(2) (CFC-12), CCl(3)F (CFC-11) and CCl(2)FCClF(2) (CFC-113) in water and air. Water samples are flame sealed into 350-ml glass ampoules which allow storage and sampling in locations where field measurements are not practical. For analysis, these ampoules are stripped of dissolved gases after their stems are cracked in an enclosed chamber such that the headspace fraction in the ampoule is included in the measurement. The extracted gases are then trapped cryogenically and are separated on packed columns. CFC-11 and CFC-113 are measured on one electron capture detector (ECD), while SF(6) and CFC-12 are cryofocussed on a second trap and analyzed on a second ECD. Detection limits for seawater samples are about 0.015 fmol kg(-1) for SF(6), 0.010 pmol kg(-1) for CFC-12, 0.014 pmol kg(-1) for CFC-11, and 0.024 pmol kg(-1) for CFC-113. This analytical technique also allows for analysis of air samples with low concentrations or at low pressures. Results from a profile in the northeastern Pacific Ocean show that SF6 partial pressure ages are consistent with those of CFC-11 and CFC-12 over the age range covered by this profile. From this, we infer that SF6 is useful for the dating of recently ventilated waters, thus complementing the dating of older waters using CFCs. Earlier reports of the degradation of CFC-113 in oxygenated water are supported by our results for samples stored in ampoules. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.