Publications

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2017
Graven, H, Allison CE, Etheridge DM, Hammer S, Keeling RF, Levin I, Meijer HAJ, Rubino M, Tans PP, Trudinger CM, Vaughn BH, White JWC.  2017.  Compiled records of carbon isotopes in atmospheric CO2 for historical simulations in CMIP6. Geoscientific Model Development. 10:4405-4417.   10.5194/gmd-10-4405-2017   AbstractWebsite

The isotopic composition of carbon (Delta C-14 and delta C-13) in atmospheric CO2 and in oceanic and terrestrial carbon reservoirs is influenced by anthropogenic emissions and by natural carbon exchanges, which can respond to and drive changes in climate. Simulations of C-14 and C-13 in the ocean and terrestrial components of Earth system models (ESMs) present opportunities for model evaluation and for investigation of carbon cycling, including anthropogenic CO2 emissions and uptake. The use of carbon isotopes in novel evaluation of the ESMs' component ocean and terrestrial biosphere models and in new analyses of historical changes may improve predictions of future changes in the carbon cycle and climate system. We compile existing data to produce records of Delta C-14 and delta C-13 in atmospheric CO2 for the historical period 1850-2015. The primary motivation for this compilation is to provide the atmospheric boundary condition for historical simulations in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 6 (CMIP6) for models simulating carbon isotopes in the ocean or terrestrial biosphere. The data may also be useful for other carbon cycle modelling activities.

Fischer, ML, Parazoo N, Brophy K, Cui XG, Jeong S, Liu JJ, Keeling R, Taylor TE, Gurney K, Oda T, Graven H.  2017.  Simulating estimation of California fossil fuel and biosphere carbon dioxide exchanges combining in situ tower and satellite column observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 122:3653-3671.   10.1002/2016jd025617   AbstractWebsite

We report simulation experiments estimating the uncertainties in California regional fossil fuel and biosphere CO2 exchanges that might be obtained by using an atmospheric inverse modeling system driven by the combination of ground-based observations of radiocarbon and total CO2, together with column-mean CO2 observations from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2). The work includes an initial examination of statistical uncertainties in prior models for CO2 exchange, in radiocarbon-based fossil fuel CO2 measurements, in OCO-2 measurements, and in a regional atmospheric transport modeling system. Using these nominal assumptions for measurement and model uncertainties, we find that flask measurements of radiocarbon and total CO2 at 10 towers can be used to distinguish between different fossil fuel emission data products for major urban regions of California. We then show that the combination of flask and OCO-2 observations yields posterior uncertainties in monthly-mean fossil fuel emissions of similar to 5-10%, levels likely useful for policy relevant evaluation of bottom-up fossil fuel emission estimates. Similarly, we find that inversions yield uncertainties in monthly biosphere CO2 exchange of similar to 6%-12%, depending on season, providing useful information on net carbon uptake in California's forests and agricultural lands. Finally, initial sensitivity analysis suggests that obtaining the above results requires control of systematic biases below approximately 0.5ppm, placing requirements on accuracy of the atmospheric measurements, background subtraction, and atmospheric transport modeling.

2016
Newman, S, Xu XM, Gurney KR, Hsu YK, Li KF, Jiang X, Keeling R, Feng S, O'Keefe D, Patarasuk R, Wong KW, Rao P, Fischer ML, Yung YL.  2016.  Toward consistency between trends in bottom-up CO2 emissions and top-down atmospheric measurements in the Los Angeles megacity. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:3843-3863. AbstractWebsite

Large urban emissions of greenhouse gases result in large atmospheric enhancements relative to background that are easily measured. Using CO2 mole fractions and delta C-14 and delta C-13 values of CO2 in the Los Angeles megacity observed in inland Pasadena (2006-2013) and coastal Palos Verdes peninsula (autumn 2009-2013), we have determined time series for CO2 contributions from fossil fuel combustion (C-ff) for both sites and broken those down into contributions from petroleum and/or gasoline and natural gas burning for Pasadena. We find a 10 % reduction in Pasadena C-ff during the Great Recession of 2008-2010, which is consistent with the bottom-up inventory determined by the California Air Resources Board. The isotopic variations and total atmospheric CO2 from our observations are used to infer seasonality of natural gas and petroleum combustion. The trend of CO2 contributions to the atmosphere from natural gas combustion is out of phase with the seasonal cycle of total natural gas combustion seasonal patterns in bottom-up inventories but is consistent with the seasonality of natural gas usage by the area's electricity generating power plants. For petroleum, the inferred seasonality of CO2 contributions from burning petroleum is delayed by several months relative to usage indicated by statewide gasoline taxes. Using the high-resolution Hestia-LA data product to compare C-ff from parts of the basin sampled by winds at different times of year, we find that variations in observed fossil fuel CO2 reflect seasonal variations in wind direction. The seasonality of the local CO2 excess from fossil fuel combustion along the coast, on Palos Verdes peninsula, is higher in autumn and winter than spring and summer, almost completely out of phase with that from Pasadena, also because of the annual variations of winds in the region. Variations in fossil fuel CO2 signals are consistent with sampling the bottom-up Hestia-LA fossil CO2 emissions product for sub-city source regions in the LA megacity domain when wind directions are considered.

2012
Graven, HD, Guilderson TP, Keeling RF.  2012.  Observations of radiocarbon in CO2 at seven global sampling sites in the Scripps flask network: Analysis of spatial gradients and seasonal cycles. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 117   10.1029/2011jd016535   AbstractWebsite

High precision measurements of Delta C-14 were conducted for monthly samples of CO2 from seven global stations over 2- to 16-year periods ending in 2007. Mean Delta C-14 over 2005-07 in the Northern Hemisphere was 5 parts per thousand lower than Delta C-14 in the Southern Hemisphere, similar to recent observations from I. Levin. This is a significant shift from 1988-89 when Delta C-14 in the Northern Hemisphere was slightly higher than the South. The influence of fossil fuel CO2 emission and transport was simulated for each of the observation sites by the TM3 atmospheric transport model and compared to other models that participated in the Transcom 3 Experiment. The simulated interhemispheric gradient caused by fossil fuel CO2 emissions was nearly the same in both 1988-89 and 2005-07, due to compensating effects from rising emissions and decreasing sensitivity of Delta C-14 to fossil fuel CO2. The observed 5 parts per thousand shift must therefore have been caused by non-fossil influences, most likely due to changes in the air-sea C-14 flux in the Southern Ocean. Seasonal cycles with higher Delta C-14 in summer or fall were evident at most stations, with largest amplitudes observed at Point Barrow (71 degrees N) and La Jolla (32 degrees N). Fossil fuel emissions do not account for the seasonal cycles of Delta C-14 in either hemisphere, indicating strong contributions from non-fossil influences, most likely from stratosphere-troposphere exchange.

2009
Graven, HD, Stephens BB, Guilderson TP, Campos TL, Schimel DS, Campbell JE, Keeling RF.  2009.  Vertical profiles of biospheric and fossil fuel-derived CO2 and fossil fuel CO2: CO ratios from airborne measurements of Δ14C, CO2 and CO above Colorado, USA. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 61:536-546.   10.1111/j.1600-0889.2009.00421.x   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of Delta C-14 in atmospheric CO2 are an effective method of separating CO2 additions from fossil fuel and biospheric sources or sinks of CO2. We illustrate this technique with vertical profiles of CO2 and Delta C-14 analysed in whole air flask samples collected above Colorado, USA in May and July 2004. Comparison of lower tropospheric composition to cleaner air at higher altitudes (>5 km) revealed considerable additions from respiration in the morning in both urban and rural locations. Afternoon concentrations were mainly governed by fossil fuel emissions and boundary layer depth, also showing net biospheric CO2 uptake in some cases. We estimate local industrial CO2: CO emission ratios using in situ measurements of CO concentration. Ratios are found to vary by 100% and average 57 mole CO2:1 mole CO, higher than expected from emissions inventories. Uncertainty in CO2 from different sources was +/- 1.1 to +/- 4.1 ppm for addition or uptake of -4.6 to 55.8 ppm, limited by Delta 14C measurement precision and uncertainty in background Delta C-14 and CO2 levels.