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Thompson, RL, Patra PK, Ishijima K, Saikawa E, Corazza M, Karstens U, Wilson C, Bergamaschi P, Dlugokencky E, Sweeney C, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, O'Doherty S, Fraser PJ, Steele LP, Krummel PB, Saunois M, Chipperfield M, Bousquet P.  2014.  TransCom N2O model inter-comparison - Part 1: Assessing the influence of transport and surface fluxes on tropospheric N2O variability. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 14:4349-4368.   10.5194/acp-14-4349-2014   AbstractWebsite

We present a comparison of chemistry-transport models (TransCom-N2O) to examine the importance of atmospheric transport and surface fluxes on the variability of N2O mixing ratios in the troposphere. Six different models and two model variants participated in the inter-comparison and simulations were made for the period 2006 to 2009. In addition to N2O, simulations of CFC-12 and SF6 were made by a subset of four of the models to provide information on the models' proficiency in stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE) and meridional transport, respectively. The same prior emissions were used by all models to restrict differences among models to transport and chemistry alone. Four different N2O flux scenarios totalling between 14 and 17 TgN yr(-1) (for 2005) globally were also compared. The modelled N2O mixing ratios were assessed against observations from in situ stations, discrete air sampling networks and aircraft. All models adequately captured the large-scale patterns of N2O and the vertical gradient from the troposphere to the stratosphere and most models also adequately captured the N2O tropospheric growth rate. However, all models underestimated the inter-hemispheric N2O gradient by at least 0.33 parts per billion (ppb), equivalent to 1.5 TgN, which, even after accounting for an overestimate of emissions in the Southern Ocean of circa 1.0 TgN, points to a likely underestimate of the Northern Hemisphere source by up to 0.5 TgN and/or an overestimate of STE in the Northern Hemisphere. Comparison with aircraft data reveal that the models over-estimate the amplitude of the N2O seasonal cycle at Hawaii (21 degrees N, 158 degrees W) below circa 6000 m, suggesting an overestimate of the importance of stratosphere to troposphere transport in the lower troposphere at this latitude. In the Northern Hemisphere, most of the models that provided CFC-12 simulations captured the phase of the CFC-12, seasonal cycle, indicating a reasonable representation of the timing of STE. However, for N2O all models simulated a too early minimum by 2 to 3 months owing to errors in the seasonal cycle in the prior soil emissions, which was not adequately represented by the terrestrial biosphere model. In the Southern Hemisphere, most models failed to capture the N2O and CFC-12 seasonality at Cape Grim, Tasmania, and all failed at the South Pole, whereas for SF6, all models could capture the seasonality at all sites, suggesting that there are large errors in modelled vertical transport in high southern latitudes.

Weiss, RF, Prinn RG.  2011.  Quantifying greenhouse-gas emissions from atmospheric measurements: a critical reality check for climate legislation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society a-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences. 369:1925-1942.   10.1098/rsta.2011.0006   AbstractWebsite

Emissions reduction legislation relies upon 'bottom-up' accounting of industrial and biogenic greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions at their sources. Yet, even for relatively well-constrained industrial GHGs, global emissions based on 'top-down' methods that use atmospheric measurements often agree poorly with the reported bottom-up emissions. For emissions reduction legislation to be effective, it is essential that these discrepancies be resolved. Because emissions are regulated nationally or regionally, not globally, top-down estimates must also be determined at these scales. High-frequency atmospheric GHG measurements at well-chosen station locations record 'pollution events' above the background values that result from regional emissions. By combining such measurements with inverse methods and atmospheric transport and chemistry models, it is possible to map and quantify regional emissions. Even with the sparse current network of measurement stations and current inverse-modelling techniques, it is possible to rival the accuracies of regional 'bottom-up' emission estimates for some GHGs. But meeting the verification goals of emissions reduction legislation will require major increases in the density and types of atmospheric observations, as well as expanded inverse-modelling capabilities. The cost of this effort would be minor when compared with current investments in carbon-equivalent trading, and would reduce the volatility of that market and increase investment in emissions reduction.

Nevison, CD, Mahowald NM, Weiss RF, Prinn RG.  2007.  Interannual and seasonal variability in atmospheric N2O. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 21   10.1029/2006gb002755   AbstractWebsite

The increase in atmospheric N2O observed over the last century reflects large- scale human perturbations to the global nitrogen cycle. High- precision measurements of atmospheric N2O over the last decade reveal subtle signals of interannual variability (IAV) superimposed upon the more prominent growth trend. Anthropogenic sources drive the underlying growth in N2O, but are probably too monotonic to explain most of the observed IAV. The causes of both seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric N2O are explored on the basis of comparisons of a 1993 - 2004 atmospheric transport simulation to observations of N2O at five stations of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). The complementary tracers chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 11 and 12 and SF6 also are examined. The model simulation does not include a stratospheric sink and thus isolates the effects of surface sources and tropospheric transport. Both model and observations yield correlations in seasonal and interannual variability among species, but only in a few cases are model and observed variability correlated to each other. The results suggest that tropospheric transport contributes substantially to observed variability, especially at Samoa station. However, some features of observed variability are not explained by the model simulation and appear more consistent with a stratospheric influence. At Mace Head, Ireland, N2O and CFC growth rate anomalies are weakly correlated to IAV in polar winter lower stratospheric temperature, a proxy for the strength of the mean meridional stratospheric circulation. Seasonal and interannual variability in the natural sources of N2O may also contribute to observed variability in atmospheric N2O.

Nevison, CD, Keeling RF, Weiss RF, Popp BN, Jin X, Fraser PJ, Porter LW, Hess PG.  2005.  Southern Ocean ventilation inferred from seasonal cycles of atmospheric N2O and O2/N2 at Cape Grim, Tasmania. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 57:218-229.   10.1111/j.1600-0889.2005.00143.x   AbstractWebsite

The seasonal cycle of atmospheric N(2)O is derived from a 10-yr observational record at Cape Grim, Tasmania (41 degrees S, 145 degrees E). After correcting for thermal and stratospheric influences, the observed atmospheric seasonal cycle is consistent with the seasonal outgassing of microbially produced N(2)O from the Southern Ocean, as predicted by an ocean biogeochemistry model coupled to an atmospheric transport model (ATM). The model-observation comparison suggests a Southern Ocean N(2)O source of similar to 0.9 Tg N yr(-1) and is the first study to reproduce observed atmospheric seasonal cycles in N(2)O using specified surface sources in forward ATM runs. However, these results are sensitive to the thermal and stratospheric corrections applied to the atmospheric N(2)O data. The correlation in subsurface waters between apparent oxygen utilization (AOU) and N(2)O production (approximated as the concentration in excess of atmospheric equilibrium Delta N(2)O) is exploited to infer the atmospheric seasonal cycle in O(2)/N(2) due to ventilation of O(2)-depleted subsurface waters. Subtracting this cycle from the observed, thermally corrected seasonal cycle in atmospheric O(2)/N(2) allows the residual O(2)/N(2) signal from surface net community production to be inferred. Because N(2)O is only produced in subsurface ocean waters, where it is correlated to O(2) consumption, atmospheric N(2)O observations provide a methodology for distinguishing the surface production and subsurface ventilation signals in atmospheric O(2)/N(2), which have previously been inseparable.

Lueker, TJ, Walker SJ, Vollmer MK, Keeling RF, Nevison CD, Weiss RF, Garcia HE.  2003.  Coastal upwelling air-sea fluxes revealed in atmospheric observations of O2/N2, CO2 and N2O. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2002gl016615   AbstractWebsite

[1] We capture water column ventilation resulting from coastal upwelling in continuous records of O-2/N-2, CO2, and N2O at Trinidad, California. Our records reveal the gas exchange response time of the ocean to the upwelling and ensuing biological production. Satellite and buoy wind data allow extrapolation of our records to assess coastal upwelling air-sea fluxes of O-2 and N2O. We improve on previous regional estimates of N2O flux in coastal and continental shelf region of the western U. S. We characterize the source of N2O as being predominately from nitrification based on the O-2/N2O emissions ratio observed in our atmospheric records.

O'Doherty, S, Simmonds PG, Cunnold DM, Wang HJ, Sturrock GA, Fraser PJ, Ryall D, Derwent RG, Weiss RF, Salameh P, Miller BR, Prinn RG.  2001.  In situ chloroform measurements at Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment atmospheric research stations from 1994 to 1998. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 106:20429-20444.   10.1029/2000jd900792   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of atmospheric chloroform (CHCl3) by in situ gas chromatography using electron capture detection are reported from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) network of atmospheric research stations. They are some of the most comprehensive in situ, high-frequency measurements to be reported for CHCl3 and provide valuable information not only on clean "baseline" mixing ratios but also on local and regional sources. Emissions from these sources cause substantial periodic increases in CHCl3 concentrations above their baseline levels, which can be used to identify source strengths. This is particularly the case for measurements made at Mace Head, Ireland. Furthermore, these local sources of CHCl3 emissions are significant in relation to current estimates of global emissions and illustrate that the understanding of competing sources and sinks of CHCl3 is still fragmentary. These observations also show that CHCl3 has a very pronounced seasonal cycle with a summer minimum and winter maximum presumably resulting from enhanced destruction by OH in the summer. The amplitude of the cycle is dependent on sampling location. Over the 57 months of in situ measurements a global average baseline concentration of 8.9 +/-0.1 ppt was determined with no appreciable trend in the baseline detected.

Prinn, RG, Weiss RF, Fraser PJ, Simmonds PG, Cunnold DM, Alyea FN, O'Doherty S, Salameh P, Miller BR, Huang J, Wang RHJ, Hartley DE, Harth C, Steele LP, Sturrock G, Midgley PM, McCulloch A.  2000.  A history of chemically and radiatively important gases in air deduced from ALE/GAGE/AGAGE. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 105:17751-17792.   10.1029/2000jd900141   AbstractWebsite

We describe in detail the instrumentation and calibrations used in the Atmospheric Lifetime Experiment (ALE), the Global Atmospheric Cases Experiment (GAGE), and the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) and present a history of the majority of the anthropogenic ozone-depleting and climate-forcing gases in air based on these experiments. Beginning in 1978, these three successive automated high-frequency in situ experiments have documented the long-term behavior of the measured concentrations of these gases over the past 20 years, and show both the evolution of latitudinal gradients and the high-frequency variability due to sources and circulation. We provide estimates of the long-term trends in total chlorine contained in long-lived halocarbons involved in ozone depletion. We summarize interpretations of these measurements using inverse methods to determine trace gas lifetimes and emissions. Finally, we provide a combined observational and modeled reconstruction of the evolution of chlorocarbons by latitude in the atmosphere over the past 60 years which can be used as boundary conditions for interpreting trapped air in glaciers and oceanic measurements of chlorocarbon tracers of the deep oceanic circulation. Some specific conclusions are as follows: (1) International compliance with the Montreal Protocol is so far resulting in chlorofluorocarbon and chlorocarbon mole fractions comparable to target levels; (2) mole fractions of total chlorine contained in long-lived halocarbons (CCl2F2, CCl3F, CH3CCl3, CCl4, CHClF2, CCl2FCClF2, CH3Cl, CH2Cl2, CHCl3, CCl2=CCl2) in the lower troposphere reached maximum values of about 3.6 ppb in 1993 and are beginning to slowly decrease in the global lower atmosphere; (3) the chlorofluorocarbons have atmospheric lifetimes consistent with destruction in the stratosphere being their principal removal mechanism; (4) multiannual variations in chlorofluorocarbon and chlorocarbon emissions deduced from ALE/GAGE/AGAGE data are consistent approximately with variations estimated independently from industrial production and sales data where available (CCl2F2 (CFC-12) and CCl2FCClF2 (CFC-113) show the greatest discrepancies); (5) the mole fractions of the hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons, which are replacing the regulated halocarbons, are rising very rapidly in the atmosphere, but with the exception of the much longer manufactured CHClF2 (HCFC-22), they are not yet at levels sufficient to contribute significantly to atmospheric chlorine loading. These replacement species could in the future provide independent estimates of the global weighted-average OH concentration provided their industrial emissions are accurately documented; (6) in the future, analysis of pollution events measured using high-frequency in situ measurements of chlorofluorocarbons and their replacements may enable emission estimates at the regional level, which, together with industrial end-use data, are of sufficient accuracy to he capable of identifying regional noncompliance with the Montreal Protocol.

Simmonds, PG, Cunnold DM, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, Fraser PJ, McCulloch A, Alyea FN, O'Doherty S.  1998.  Global trends and emission estimates of CCl4 from in situ background observations from July 1978 to June 1996. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 103:16017-16027.   10.1029/98jd01022   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric Lifetime Experiment/Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment/Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (ALE/GAGE/AGAGE) measurements of CCl4 at five remote surface locations from 1978 to 1996 are reported. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) 1993 absolute calibration scale is used, reducing the concentrations by a factor of 0.77 compared to previous ALE/GAGE reports. Atmospheric concentrations of CCl4 reached a peak in 1989-1990 of 104.4 +/-. 3.1 parts per trillion (ppt) and have since been decreasing 0.7 +/-. 0.1 ppt yr(-1). Assuming an atmospheric lifetime of 42 +/- 12 years, the emissions averaged 94(+22)(-11) x 10(6) kg from 1979 to 1988 and 49(+26)(-13) x 10(6) kg from 1991 to 1995. The reduction in the emissions in 1989-1990 coincided with a substantial decrease in the global production of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The total emission of CCl4 from countries that report annual production is estimated to have declined from 11% in 1972 to 4% in 1995 of the CCl4 needed to produce the CFC amounts reported. This implies that nonreporting countries released substantial amounts of CCl4 into the atmosphere in the 1980s and that their releases have exceeded those from the reporting countries since 1991.

Fraser, P, Cunnold D, Alyea F, Weiss R, Prinn R, Simmonds P, Miller B, Langenfelds R.  1996.  Lifetime and emission estimates of 1,1,2-trichlorotrifluorethane (CFC-113) from daily global background observations June 1982 June 1994. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 101:12585-12599.   10.1029/96jd00574   AbstractWebsite

Observations every two hours of CCl2FCClF2 at Mace Head, Ireland (February 1987-June 1994); Cape Meares, Oregon (April 1984-June 1989); Ragged Point, Barbados (October 1985-June 1994); Cape Matatula, Samoa (October 1985-June 1989 and January 1992-June 1994); and Cape Grim, Tasmania (June 1982-June 1994) are reported, The observations from Cape Grim have been extended back to 1978 using archived air samples. The global atmospheric abundance of CCl2FCClF2 is indicated to have been growing exponentially between 1978 and 1987 with an e-folding time of approximately 7.6 years; it has been growing less rapidly since that time. On January 1, 1994, the mean inferred northern hemispheric mixing ratio in the lower troposphere was 84.4 +/- 0.4 ppt and the southern hemispheric value was 80.6 +/- 0.4 ppt; the global growth rate in 1991-1993 is estimated to have averaged approximately 3.1 +/- 0.1 ppt/year. The differences between the northern and southern hemispheric concentrations are calculated to be consistent with the almost entirely northern hemispheric release of this gas. The annual release estimates of CCl2FCClF2 by industry, which include estimates of eastern European emissions, fairly consistently exceed those deduced from the measurements by approximately 10% from 1980 to 1993. The uncertainties in each estimate is approximately 5%. This difference suggests that up to 10% of past production might not yet have been released. The measurements indicate that atmospheric releases of CCl2FCClF2 have been decreasing rapidly since 1989 and in 1993 amounted to 78 +/- 27 x 10(6) kg or 42 +/- 15% of the 1985-1987 emissions.

Landrum, LL, Gammon RH, Feely RA, Murphy PP, Kelly KC, Cosca CE, Weiss RF.  1996.  North Pacific Ocean CO2 disequilibrium for spring through summer, 1985-1989. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 101:28539-28555.   10.1029/96jc02100   AbstractWebsite

Extensive measurements of CO2 fugacity in the North Pacific surface ocean and overlying atmosphere during the years 1985-1989 are synthesized and interpreted to yield a basin-wide estimate of Delta fCO(2). The observations, taken from February through early September, suggest that the subtropical and subarctic North Pacific is a small sink for atmospheric CO2 (0.07 to 0.2 Gton C (half year)(-1) for the region north of 15 degrees N). Objective analysis techniques are used to estimate uncertainty fields resulting from constructing basin-wide contours of oceanic fCO(2) on the basis of individual cruise transects. The uncertainties are significant and imply that future sampling programs need to recognize that estimating oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2 from ship-transect observations of oceanic fCO(2) alone will require very extensive sampling.

Prinn, RG, Weiss RF, Miller BR, Huang J, Alyea FN, Cunnold DM, Fraser PJ, Hartley DE, Simmonds PG.  1995.  Atmospheric trends and lifetime of CH3CCI3 and global OH concentrations . Science. 269:187-192.   10.1126/science.269.5221.187   AbstractWebsite

Determination of the atmospheric concentrations and lifetime of trichloroethane (CH3CCl3) is very important in the context of global change. This halocarbon is involved in depletion of ozone, and the hydroxyl radical (OH) concentrations determined from its lifetime provide estimates of the lifetimes of most other hydrogen-containing gases involved in the ozone layer and climate. Global measurements of trichloroethane indicate rising concentrations before and declining concentrations after late 1991. The lifetime of CH3CCl3 in the total atmosphere is 4.8 +/- 0.3 years, which is substantially lower than previously estimated. The deduced hydroxyl radical concentration, which measures the atmosphere's oxidizing capability, shows little change from 1978 to 1994.

Cunnold, DM, Fraser PJ, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, Simmonds PG, Miller BR, Alyea FN, Crawford AJ.  1994.  Global trends and annual releases of CCl3F and CCl2F2 estimated from ALE/GAGE and other measurements from July 1978 to June 1991. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 99:1107-1126.   10.1029/93jd02715   AbstractWebsite

Thirteen years of Atmospheric Lifetime Experiment/Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment CCl3F and CCl2F2 measurements at five remote, surface, globally distributed sites are analyzed. Comparisons are made against shipboard measurements by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography group and archived air samples collected at Cape Grim, Tasmania, since 1978. CCl3F in the lower troposphere was increasing at an average rate of 9.2 ppt/yr over the period July 1978 to June 1988. CCl2F2 was increasing at an average 17.3 ppt/yr in the lower troposphere over the same period. However, between July 1988 and June 1991 the increases of CCl3F and CCl2F2 in this region have averaged just 7.0 ppt/yr and 15.7 ppt/yr, respectively. The rate of increase has been decreasing 2.4 ppt/yr and 2.9 ppt/yr(2) over this 3-year period. Based on a recent scenario of the global releases of these compounds and using the new calibration scale SIO 1993, the equilibrium lifetimes are estimated to be 44(-10)(+17) and 180(_81)(+820) years for CCl3F and CCl2F2, respectively. Using these lifetime estimates and a two-dimensional model, it is estimated that global releases of these two chlorofluorocarbons in 1990 were 249+/-28 x 10(6) kg for CCl3F and 366+/-30 x 10(6) kg for CCl2F2. It is also estimated that combined releases of these chlorofluorocarbons in 1990 were 21+/-5% less than those in 1986.